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[323] independent authorship of the plan, but says he (General Grant) was in favor of that plan from the time it was first submitted to him, and credits his chief of staff, General Rawlins, with having been ‘very bitterly opposed to it,’ and with having appealed to the authorities at Washington to stop it.

This recollection of General Grant, after the lapse of so long a time, and when he was suffering almost beyond endurance from a fatal disease, may possibly, it seems to me, not express the views he entertained in October, 1864, quite so fully or accurately as his despatch of October 11, 1864, 11 A. M., to General Sherman, heretofore quoted.

That despatch was a literal prediction of what Hood actually did. It was dictated by clear military foresight, whether of Grant or Rawlins. How far world-wide approval of Sherman's plans after their brilliant success may have obscured the past can only be conjectured. As distinctly stated by Grant himself soon afterward, he clearly saw that somebody ought to be criticized; but, in view of the results, he decided to let it pass.

However all this may be, even my respect for the opinions of the greatest of Union soldiers cannot alter the conclusion I have reached after many years of study and mature consideration. I can only say that the opinion ascribed to General Rawlins, as opposed to General Grant's, was in my judgment the better of the two; and that General Rawlins, though he had not the advantage of an early military education, was a man of great natural ability, and had learned much from more than three years experience in war, after which the differences in military judgment which had existed at the beginning must have very largely, if not entirely, disappeared. General Rawlins was my immediate successor in the War Department, and would, I doubt not, have made a great reputation there if his life had been prolonged.

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