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[126] I have ever been intimately acquainted, although he did not possess in a very high degree the power of invention or originality of thought. His personal courage seemed to amount to unconsciousness of danger, while his care of his troops cannot, I believe, be justly characterized otherwise than as wise prudence. I consider this to be only a just tribute to the memory of the nearest and dearest friend of my youth.

If McPherson had commanded one third of the army, he might, with a corps of Thomas's army in close support, have felt strong enough to occupy and hold a position between Dalton and Resaca. As it was, Thomas should have followed close upon his rear through Snake Creek Gap, with two corps. The distance between the two wings of the army would have been so short and the ground between them so impassable to the enemy as to give us practically a continuous line of battle, and Thomas's two corps in the valley of the Connasauga near Tilton would have been in far better position to strike the retreating enemy when he was compelled to let go of Dalton, than they were in front of Rocky-face Ridge. Impartial history must, I believe, hold Sherman himself mainly responsible for the failure to realize his expectations in the first movement against Johnston.

It seems at least probable that at the beginning of the movement against Dalton, Sherman did not fully understand the character of the enemy's position; for his plan clearly appears to have been to make the main attack in front at the moment Johnston should be compelled to let go from his stronghold by reason of McPherson's operations in his rear; while McPherson, after breaking the railroad and then falling back for security to the Gap, should strike Johnston in flank during the confusion of retreat.

The nature of the position rendered this plan impracticable for producing any important result. Had McPherson

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Dalton, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (3)
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James B. McPherson (4)
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