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[327] such result? Is it not more probable that Sherman simply expected to take advantage of Hood's temporary absence from Georgia to make his own change of base to Savannah? Did Sherman not, in fact, really expect Hood to follow him, even though at so great a distance, and be prepared to resist his future operations from Savannah? Sherman repeatedly said, in his despatches before he started, that he believed Hood would follow him, being compelled to do so by public clamor. What was Sherman's plan when he started for Savannah? Was it simply to effect a change of base, or was it for well-defined ulterior purposes? When did Sherman mature his plan to march to Virginia, and when did that plan first dawn upon Sherman's mind? In this connection, what significance is to be attached to the dates of events in Tennessee, especially the battles of Franklin and Nashville?

By the first mails which reached Sherman after he arrived on the coast, December 14 and 15, containing letters from Grant dated December 3 and 6, full information was received of the battle of Franklin, which had occurred November 30. Thomas's official report of the battle of Nashville was received by Sherman on December 24, but rumors of that victory had reached him earlier. Sherman's first letter to Grant, relative to future operations, written in reply to those from Grant of December 3 and 6, was dated December 16. In that letter was mentioned Sherman's plan in the following words: ‘Indeed, with my present command I had expected, upon reducing Savannah, instantly to march to Columbia, South Carolina, thence to Raleigh, and thence to report to you.’ Sherman's second letter to Grant, on the same subject, written in reply to Grant's letter of the 18th, was dated December 24, the day on which he received Thomas's report of the battle of Nashville. In this letter Sherman said: ‘I am also gratified that you have modified ’

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