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[154] the rear, or to strike Sherman's rear or flank in full force if he made any other movement. The division of Hood's forces at that time, one part holding on to Atlanta while the other went to head off Sherman, was the worst disposition that could have been made.

As related to me personally by General Sheridan,—for I have not yet studied the Virginia campaigns so thoroughly as to justify me in speaking from the records,—it was a similar mistake on the part of the Confederate cavalry commander General J. E. B. Stuart, in trying to get between Sheridan and Richmond, which gave Sheridan the advantage and led to Stuart's defeat. Stuart had ridden hard all night, and got between Sheridan and Richmond, his men and horses exhausted, while Sheridan had been resting and feeding his men and animals. In the morning Sheridan ‘rode over’ his exhausted antagonist. These are among the many cases where exaggerated ideas of the importance of places have led to the defeat of armies. I knew Stuart well at West Point, he having been in the class next to mine. He then gave promise of his future brilliant career as a cavalry leader.

The only specially hazardous part of Sherman's movement was that which would fall to my lot—namely, to hold the ‘pivot’ against a possible attack of Hood's whole army while Thomas and Howard should swing round it, and then draw out and join them after the swing was made. Upon my reporting that I was perfectly willing to undertake this task, and had no doubt of the ability of my corps to accomplish it, all question about making the movement appeared to be settled, and it was at once ordered. Hood did not avail himself of his opportunity to attack me when alone, either in position or in motion, hence my part of the movement proved easiest of all.

I had placed my corps in a completely inclosed fieldwork, large enough to contain all my trains, and strong

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