as the great exploit, while the vastly more difficult and important march through the Carolinas appears to have been taken as a matter of course, perhaps because of the conviction, which had by that time become general, that Sherman
could do anything he might undertake.
In respect to Sherman
's skill in grand tactics, I have only a few words to say here.
The part assigned him in Grant
's general plan of operations for all the armies, in 1864, in his ‘private and confidential’ letter of April 4, was as follows: ‘You I propose to move against Johnston
's army to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.’
It is a simple, plain matter of history that Sherman
did not accomplish the first and more important part of the task assigned him—‘to break it up’—in the four months of almost constant fighting with Johnston
In the comments I have made upon the Atlanta campaign
, I believe I have shown clearly why Sherman
did not accomplish that result by the tactical operations to which he limited himself.
The manner in which that army, then under Hood
instead of Johnston
, was finally broken up, by Sherman
's subordinates in Tennessee
, slows clearly enough what kind of modification of Sherman
's tactical methods was requisite to enable him to reach the same result in Georgia
's tactical operations during the entire Atlanta campaign
were marked by the highest degree of prudence and caution.
Even his one assault upon fortified lines at Kenesaw
was no exception; for the worst that could happen in that was what actually did happen, namely, a fruitless loss of a considerable number of men, yet a number quite insignificant in comparison with the total strength of his army.
displayed similar qualities in an equal degree so long as he was in command; and his well-known ability may have suggested to Sherman