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  • [40] draw within their lines
  • -- advantage gained by Grant on both flanks—--balancing character of operations -- consternation in Richmond -- anxiety of Lee.

In the midst of Sheridan's brilliant successes in the Valley, the general-in-chief was obliged to turn his attention to the new situation in Georgia; for as soon as Atlanta was won, it became necessary to determine what use should be made of Sherman's victorious army. Grant's original plan, while he still commanded in person at the West, had been to acquire Atlanta, and then, retaining possession of that important Place, to fight his way to the sea, thus dividing the Confederacy again, as had already been done when the Mississippi was opened the year before. Mobile was the point he desired to strike, and a co-operative movement, under Sherman or McPherson, was designed, to secure that place as a new base for his army, when it arrived. On the 15th of January, two months before Grant became general-in-chief, he said to Halleck: ‘I look upon the next line for me to secure to be that from Chattanooga to Mobile, Montgomery and Atlanta being the important intermediate points. . . Mobile would be a second base.’ A copy of this letter was sent to Sherman, and on the 19th of January, the scheme was also unfolded to Thomas.1

When the command at the West was transferred to Sherman, that general was instructed to carry out this programme, and Banks was directed to concentrate his entire strength against Mobile, so as to open up a base for Sherman as he emerged from his southern campaign. The Red river disaster,

1 See Vol. 1., pp. 554 and 555.

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