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‘ [328] your former orders. . . . I feel no doubt whatever as to our future plans. I have thought them over so long and well that they appear as clear as daylight.’

When Sherman first mentioned his future plan he knew that the success of his past plan in Tennessee had been assured. Thomas had succeeded in concentrating his forces at Nashville, and Hood had suffered a serious defeat in attempting to prevent it. At the time of Sherman's second letter, mentioning his very mature consideration of his future plans and perfect confidence in respect to them, he knew that Hood's army had been broken up, and had become a small factor in the future problem. How long, and to what extent, had Sherman anticipated these results in Tennessee, and matured his plans of future operations, which were dependent upon those results? I shall consider these several questions, which involve so intimately the character of my old commander.

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