informing him of my purpose, and informed General Thomas
But the latter disapproved my plan, and directed me to move to defend Caperton's Ferry.
This is what General Sherman
refers to in his despatch of October 16: ‘Your first move on Trenton
and Valley Head
was right; the move to defend Caperton's Ferry is wrong.
Notify General Thomas
of these, my views.’
But the difference between right and wrong proved immaterial, since Hood
was left free to escape down the Chattanooga valley
Why this was done, or why Sherman
did not want to force the enemy east, by Spring Place, into the barren mountains, where Johnston
would have been compelled to go if McPherson
's move on Resaca
in May had been successful, seems a mystery.
The explanation is probably to be found in Sherman
's wish that Hood
would go where he would not be compelled to follow, and thus would leave him (Sherman
) a clear road for his march to the sea. Indeed the conviction seems irresistible that Sherman
could hardly have acted in more perfect concert if they had been under the same commander.
The one did exactly what the other wanted, and the other took care not to interfere with his movement.
At the close of the Atlanta campaign
, I promised General Sherman
that I would, as soon as I should be able to do so, write a full critical history of that campaign as a text-book for military students.
I have not yet found time to fulfil that promise.
The foregoing pages were intended, when written, as only a very partial fulfilment of that task, and that almost entirely of one side of it—far the most difficult side.
The other side is so easy, comparatively, and is already so familiar to military students, that further elucidation now seems hardly necessary.
Yet I hope, as a labor of love, if for no other reason, to present my impressions of those grand tactical evolutions of a compact army of one hundred thousand men, as I