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[326] forces. For the same reason, I knew nothing of Sherman's plans or correspondence with Grant which were considered or took place after the fall of Atlanta, though I had been perfectly familiar with the plans discussed previous to that time having in view a change of base to some point on the Atlantic or on the gulf, with a view to further operations in Georgia or the Gulf States, wherever there might be a hostile army to operate against. Yet when I met Sherman at Gaylesburg I was surprised to learn that he was going off to the sea with five sixths of his army, leaving Thomas, with only one of his six corps, and no other veteran troops then ready for field service, to take care of Hood until he could get A. J. Smith from Missouri, incorporate new regiments into the army and make them fit to meet the veteran enemy, remount his cavalry, and concentrate his garrisons and railroad guards in Tennessee! Of course I knew far less than Sherman did about all that, for I had no responsibility and little knowledge about Thomas's department. But I knew enough to feel astonished when Sherman told me what he proposed to do. I plainly told Sherman so, and urged him to send me back with my corps to join Stanley and help Thomas.1

Here arise several interesting questions which would be worthy of consideration, although a satisfactory solution of them might not be possible. Under Sherman's assurance as to what he had done for Thomas in Tennessee, Grant appears to have been fully satisfied that Thomas would be able to take care of Hood and destroy him, thus eliminating that Confederate army from the future problem in the Atlantic States. But could Sherman, with his more exact knowledge of what he actually had done, have felt the same confidence? In view of that knowledge and of the results of his own previous operations against Hood, could he have expected any

1 See my letter to General Sherman, December 28, 1864, p. 254.

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