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[69] Petersburg, and in the latter part of the month came to City Point, where he conferred with Grant. Sherman would be ready as soon as spring hardened the roads, to join his army with Grant's and make a combined attack on Lee, or he could act independently on Lee's line of communication at Burkeville Junction. One of these things he was sure to do. Johnston's small army could do no more than impede Sherman's march. Lee was too weak to drive Grant from his front, and to remain where he was was to give his only line of retreat and supply to Sherman, and thus to be ground to pieces between the upper and nether mill-stones of his adversaries. The only hope was to leave the Petersburg lines, unite with Johnston, and strike a decisive blow at Sherman before Grant could come to his assistance. This, of course, involved the evacuation of the Confederate capital, an event which Lee had long foreseen and advised. For some reason the authorities at Richmond determined to postpone its abandonment to the last. Whether the Confederacy, under the circumstances, could have survived, at any time during the last two years of the war, the loss of Richmond, with the tremendous political and military consequences which must follow, is a question upon which it is now idle to speculate.

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