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[318] you, you must act defensively on the line of the Tennessee. . . . I do not fear that the Southern army will again make a lodgment on the Mississippi. . . . The only hope of a Southern success is in the remote regions difficult of access. We have now a good entering wedge, and should drive it home. . . .


Sherman to Grant.

Gaylesville, Ala., October 22, 1864.
I feel perfectly master of the situation here. I still hold Atlanta and the road, with all bridges and vital points well guarded, and I have in hand an army before which Hood has retreated precipitately down the valley of the Coosa. It is hard to divine his future plans; but by abandoning Georgia, and taking position with his rear to Selma, he threatens the road from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and may move to Tennessee by Decatur. He cannot cross the Tennessee except at Muscle Shoals, for all other points are patrolled by our gunboats. I am now perfecting arrangements to put into Tennessee a force able to hold the line of the Tennessee whilst I break up the railroad in front of Dalton, including the city of Atlanta, and push into Georgia, and break up all its railroads and depots, capture its horses and negroes, make desolation everywhere, destroy the factories at Macon, Milledgeville, and Augusta, and bring up with 60,000 men on the sea-shore about Savannah or Charleston. 1 think this far better than defending a long line of railroad. I will leave General George H. Thomas to command all my division behind me, and take with me only the best fighting material.


But a few days later Sherman had made a radical change in his previous plan. He telegraphed Grant, from Rome, Georgia, November 1, as follows:

As you foresaw, and as Jeff. Davis threatened, the enemy is now in the full tide of execution of his grand plan to destroy my communications and defeat this army. His infantry, about 30,--000, with Wheeler's and Roddey's cavalry, from 7000 to 10,000, are now in the neighborhood of Tuscumbia and Florence, and, the water being low, is able to cross at will. Forrest seems to be

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