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‘ [337] sea’ as actually conceived and executed by Sherman as a preliminary to the march northward for the capture of Lee's army, with the previous far-reaching strategic plans of Grant, of which Sherman and other chief commanders were informed in the spring of 1864.

Grant's plans had in view, as their great object, again to cut in two the Confederate territory, as had been done by the opening of the Mississippi River to the gulf. This next line of section might be Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Savannah, or Chattanooga, Atlanta, Montgomery, and Mobile. But with the disappearance of Hood's army from that theater of operations, all reason for that plan of ‘territorial’ strategy had disappeared, and the occasion was then presented, for the first time, for the wholly different strategical plan of Sherman, of which Lee's army was the sole military objective. Grant was perfectly just to himself as well as to Sherman in giving the latter full credit for this last plan; and he modestly refrained from any more than a brief mention of his own plans, which unforeseen events had made it unnecessary fully to execute. But history will do justice to Grant's great strategical designs as well as to his great achievements. I trust it may be my good fortune to contribute something hereafter toward the payment of this debt of gratitude which all Americans owe to the greatest soldier of the Union.

The fact that Savannah was one of the points in both Grant's plans and Sherman's was merely an incident, and a very unimportant one. Indeed, after Hood got out of his way, Sherman might as well, and I think better, have marched direct to Augusta, and thence northward, wholly ignoring Savannah as well as Charleston, except that he would have arrived in Virginia rather early in the season. Savannah was a good place to go to in order to spend the winter, besides destroying Georgia en route.

Of course it is much easier to see what might have been

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