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[342] was not by any means equal to his ability as a strategist. He lacked the element of confident boldness or audacity in action which is necessary to gain the greatest results by taking advantage of his adversary's blunders, and by tempting or forcing his adversary into positions of which he might take advantage. Yet Sherman was very far from lacking skill as a tactician. Both he and Johnston might well be likened to masters of the sword so skilful and so equally matched that neither could gain any material advantage over the other. In my opinion, their duel of ten weeks duration was never surpassed in the history of the world for the masterly skill and caution with which the one pressed the other back step by step, and the other disputed every foot of the ground, neither giving nor attempting to make an opportunity to strike a decisive blow. If the object of that campaign was to capture Atlanta on the one side, and to defend it on the other, the handling of those two splendid armies was simply magnificent. It would be a great pity that an end was put to that duel by the removal of Johnston, and the military world thus deprived of a complete lesson, except for the fact that, whether or not the contest finally resulted in the fall of Atlanta, the rebellion in that part of the South would have been practically as far from an end as it was the first of May! Johnston would have been there in front of Sherman, all the same, and at least one more campaign would have been required before the march to the sea could have been made.

Although Sherman did not himself accomplish the first part of Grant's plan in respect to Johnston's army,— namely, ‘to break it up,’—the second part, ‘to get into the interior of the enemy's country, . . . inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources,’1 was carried out as thoroughly as Grant or anybody else could have

1 War Records, Vol. XXXII, part III, p. 245.

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