property rather than by destroying a Southern army.
But there was one objection—absolutely overruling, apparently, in Sherman
's mind—to any further attempt by Sherman
himself, with the main body of his army then in Georgia
, to prosecute the primary military object of his campaign—the destruction or capture of Hood
To have done so would have conceded a temporary triumph to the chief of the Confederate armies, who had loudly proclaimed his purpose to drive Sherman
out of Georgia
, and protect that State from any further invasion.
Such a concession, however temporary, was manifestly intolerable to Sherman
had formed and announced, with Grant
's cordial concurrence, a well-matured plan of future operations.
As ‘master of the situation,’ he could afford to go on and substantially execute that plan, or at least the primary part of it,—the change of base,—treating almost with contempt the enemy's bold design to thwart him. Although this must, at least for the time being, compel him personally to forego and leave to a subordinate the primary operations of a military campaign,—those directly against the opposing army,—the joint action of Sherman
, each with a powerful army, directly against Lee
's army in Virginia
, was the surest and probably the shortest possible way to end the war. Hence Sherman
's broad view of the entire national military situation, including the moral aspect of it, which was then of very great importance, gave rise to that grand conception of far-reaching strategy which must ever stamp its author as a master of that great art.
having thus come to the conclusion that he personally must abandon the attempt to ‘catch Hood
,’ as he called it, his ‘busy brain’ did not fail to perceive every possible alternative plan of operations.