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[332] of Georgia by Hood had completely opened up two other alternatives, one of which was before not possible, and the other only partly so. The one was a movement upon Richmond or its communications to join with Grant in the capture of Lee's army, and the other was to destroy the military resources of the Southern Atlantic States. The first was too grand, and perhaps might seem too visionary, to be talked about at first, nor was any mention of it at that time necessary. Besides, events might possibly render the march to Richmond unnecessary or impracticable; or, possibly, Sherman might be compelled for some reason to make his new base at Pensacola or Mobile, though he was determined to make it at Savannah, if possible; and hence it was necessary to have, in reserve as it were, a sufficient logical reason for the preliminary operation, if that finally had to stand alone.

Again, that part of the original plan which contemplated the capture of Savannah in advance could not be carried out. Grant could not spare the troops from the east for that purpose. If that had been done, Sherman could have marched to Augusta, there replenished his supplies by the river from Savannah, and marched thence northward by the upland route instead of through the swamps of South Carolina. But, as it was, Sherman was, as he thought, compelled to go to Savannah first, capture that place himself, and make that the base for his northward march. Hence there was no need to say anything to anybody about what further was to be done until after Savannah was in Sherman's possession, and the time had arrived for him to consult Grant about the future. Yet in Sherman's remarkable letter to Grant, dated November 6, 1864,1 written after it was too late to have any influence upon Grant's approval of Sherman's march, he disclosed to Grant the ulterior object he had in

1 War Records, Vol. XXXIX, part III, p. 658.

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