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[308] abandoned that place, his army would be inferior to Hood's.1 Now Slocum's corps numbered 10,000 men, and Sherman marched to the sea with 60,000 after stripping down to the best possible fighting condition. Hence Sherman, after sending back the Fourth and Twenty-third corps to Thomas, and leaving out Slocum's corps, had 50,000 men, and therefore according to this reckoning Hood had more than 50,000. Forty thousand would have been a reasonable estimate for Sherman to have made of Hood's strength, with his more accurate knowledge than any of his subordinate commanders could have. But, somehow, the estimate of Hood's force at that time accepted by Thomas and his subordinates in Tennessee was 45,000, besides cavalry, which was understood to be 10,000, or even 12,000 including Forrest's separate command. But even this was less than half of Sherman's two armies.

Sherman made no attempt to ‘catch’ Hood during his raid in Sherman's rear in September, 1864, nor to interfere with his movement to the west. In his ‘Memoirs,’2 Sherman says: ‘At first I thought of interposing my whole army in the Chattooga Valley, so as to prevent Hood's escape south. . . . he would be likely to retreat eastward by Spring Place, which I did not want him to do.’ Even thus early in the game Sherman saw the opportunity Hood was probably going to give him to make his projected change of base to Savannah, and hence he took care not to prevent Hood from completing his ‘cooperative’ movement.

Sherman determined to destroy Atlanta and his railroad back to Chattanooga, abandon entirely his former base of operations and line of supply, and assume a new base of future operations on the Atlantic or the gulf. In other words, Sherman decided that he could not attempt to hold any part of the territory he had conquered in the

1 Ibid., p. 594.

2 Vol. II, p. 154.

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