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
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
, 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