, with a much larger army, at exactly the same time, for the purpose of showing that even Sherman
's grand strategic plan to assist in the capture of Lee
's army did not necessitate or justify his action in marching to Savannah
and quitting his own theater of operations before his adversary there had been disposed of. The plan above suggested would have negatived even more positively the boast and promise of the Confederate
chief that Sherman
should be driven out of Georgia
The fact that Sherman
personally, with an army about as large as, or larger than, Hood
's, could and did remain quietly at Atlanta
while one of his subordinates disposed of Hood
and his army, would have been the most emphatic possible defeat of the Confederate
plan to force him back by operations in his rear.
Only one part of Sherman
's earnest desires would have been unrealized—namely, to destroy Georgia
But even that could have been, at least in a great measure, compensated for by the more complete destruction of South Carolina
, the cradle of secession and rebellion.
The more carefully Sherman
's great operations are examined, the more clearly it will appear that while his plans were magnificent, their execution was not perfect.
And this is the legitimate aim of just military criticism, not to build up or pull down the reputations of commanders, but to assist military students in their efforts to perfect themselves in the art and science of war.
's great marches, especially through the enemy's country and over such obstacles as those found from Savannah
to Goldsboroa, showed him to be a master of the auxiliary art of logistics no less than of the great science of strategy.
Even to those who have had no means of duly appreciating the higher merits of Sherman
's general plans, his marches have seemed the wonder of the world.
Yet, strangely enough, the march through Georgia
, which was in fact the simplest thing possible, has been regarded