's intention, he would doubtless have facilitated, rather than interrupted, his march.
As it was, he waited now to be certain that troops had started for Richmond
Indeed, for a fortnight this was the whole policy of Grant
; but of course the country could not be apprised of the plan, and failing to understand the delay, became impatient again.
On the 8th, the general-in-chief
said to Sheridan
: ‘If you want to attack Early
, you might reinforce largely from Washington
Whilst you are close in front of the enemy, there is no necessity for a large force there.
This is not intended to urge an attack, because I believe you will allow no chance to escape which promises success.’
still remained in the Valley
, and Sheridan
's infantry force and mine number about the same.
I have not deemed it best to attack him, but have watched closely to press him hard, so soon as he commences to detach troops for Richmond
This was the tenor of your despatch to me after I took up the defensive.’
To this Grant
replied, on the 9th: ‘I would not have you make an attack with the advantage against you, but would prefer the course you seem to be pursuing; that is, press closely upon the enemy, and when he moves, follow him up, being ready at all times to pounce upon him, if he detaches any considerable force.’
Meanwhile, the enemies at home were making the most of the delay and proclaiming Sheridan
to be another failure.
Not only the loyal people, but the government, were anxious; the continuous threat of invasion was intolerable, and the use of the railroad