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[310] in Sherman's telegraphic despatches must have decided him to carry out his plan to make the march to the sea.

The boastful assurance and threat of the Confederate commander-in-chief,1 referred to by Sherman, gave at least some reason for Sherman's defiant response by himself marching through Georgia instead of sending a subordinate; and the partial execution of that threat by Forrest's cavalry, referred to in Sherman's despatch of November 1 to Grant, gave a strong reason for Sherman's eager determination to march at once, without waiting for anything but his own preparations. In his article, ‘The Grand Strategy of the Last Year of the War,’2 Sherman reveals one of the reasons for his haste in starting on his march. ‘How free and glorious I felt,’ he says, ‘when the magic telegraph was cut, which prevented the possibility of orders of any kind from the rear coming to delay or hinder us!’ A letter written by Sherman to Grant, November 6, on the eve of his start for the sea, also gave reasons, other than military, for his famous march. In Sherman's ‘Memoirs’ no quotation is made from this letter,3 and it is referred to very briefly without giving any suggestion of its important contents.

General Sherman thus stated his reasons for writing that letter: ‘I have heretofore telegraphed and written you pretty fully, but I still have some thoughts in my busy brain that should be confided to you as a key to future developments.’

Then Sherman explained, with the art of which he was master, clearly, logically, and convincingly, the reasons for the operations of his army from the fall of Atlanta down to the time of his writing, by which he had completely

1 Mr. Jefferson Davis's speech. See General Sherman's ‘Memoirs,’ Vol. II, p. 141.

2 See the Century War Book, ‘Battles and Leaders of the Civil War,’ Vol. IV, p. 257.

3 War Records, Vol. XXXIX, part III, p. 658.

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