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[333] view. In discussing the reasons for selecting the route to Savannah rather than either of the others, he said: ‘Incidentally I might destroy the enemy's depots at Macon and Augusta, and reach the sea-shore at Charleston or Savannah, from either of which points I could reinforce our armies in Virginia.’

Of course Grant, no less than Sherman, must have perceived instantly the full significance of Sherman's change of base to Savannah the moment that move was suggested. The question in what manner that concerted action between Grant and Sherman against Lee should be arranged could well be considered later, after that march had been made and a new base established at Savannah. The correspondence between Grant and Sherman previous to Hood's march to the west, including the letters of September 12 and 20, simply shows that neither had at that time conceived the possibility of any movement of Sherman toward Virginia. All their thoughts had reference to continuing operations in the south, Sherman's most important object being to get control of the Savannah River; or, as expressed, in his last words: ‘If you can whip Lee, and I can march to the Atlantic, I think Uncle Abe will give us a twenty days leave of absence to see the young folks.’ Their joint action against Lee does not appear to have been suggested by either until Sherman's letter of November 6, which was probably received by Grant after Sherman started.

The first thought suggested to Sherman by Hood's movement ‘leaving open the road to Macon, as also to Augusta,’ as embodied in his despatch to Halleck on September 25, related simply to the opportunity thus offered to carry into effect without difficulty the original plan of a change of base to Savannah. But when Hood's movement had gone so far, and his designs were so fully disclosed, as practically to eliminate his army from the problem in the Atlantic States, Sherman determined to

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