defeated his adversary's designs, closing with the following language:
Now, as to the second branch of my proposition, I admit that the first object should be the destruction of that army; and if Beauregard moves his infantry and artillery up into that pocket about Jackson and Paris, I will feel strongly tempted to move Thomas directly against him, and myself move rapidly by Decatur and Purdy to cut off his retreat. . . . These are the reasons which have determined my former movements.
then continues by explaining the reasons which induced him not to carry out the movement above suggested.
Now come the reasons for the future movements upon which Sherman
had then fully decided, after having obtained General Grant
's consent, and which he was about to begin.
After stating what he had done ‘in the last ten days’ to prepare for his march, he said:
Then the question presents itself what shall be done?
On the supposition always that Thomas can hold the line of the Tennessee, and very shortly be able to assume the offensive as against Beauregard, I propose to act in such a manner against the material resources of the South as utterly to negative Davis's boasted threat and promises of protection.
If we can march a wellap-pointed army right through his territory, it is a demonstration to the world, foreign and domestic, that we have a power which Davis cannot resist.
This may not be war, but rather statesmanship; nevertheless it is overwhelming to my mind that there are thousands of people abroad and in the South who will reason thus: If the North can march an army right through the South, it is proof positive that the North can prevail in this contest, leaving only open the question of its willingness to use that power.
It was, perhaps, not war
, but rather statesmanship
upon which Sherman
was about to enter—not to defeat and destroy or capture the Confederate armies, but to demonstrate