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β€˜ [46] not enough, in any one place, to admit of a delay. . . . If you can manage to take the Savannah river as high up as Augusta, or the Chattahoochee as far up as Columbus, I can sweep the whole state of Georgia; otherwise, I should risk our whole army by going too far from Atlanta.’ Both generals were thus in favor of Sherman's cutting loose from Atlanta, but neither as yet dreamed of his setting out except to find another base already opened; and while Grant was considering especially the goal of the journey, Sherman's mind reverted rather to the start; for if the march occurred, Grant must provide supplies when it was over, while Sherman would be endangered, if his communications were cut before it began.

Sherman was now dependent for all his supplies for a hundred thousand men upon a single line of railroad, running from Nashville to Atlanta, a distance of two hundred and ninety miles, all the way through an enemy's country, where every foot must be protected by troops, whose numbers of course were deducted from his offensive force. Wheeler's cavalry raid had accomplished no remarkable results, but nevertheless made it plain that Sherman's communications with the North were constantly liable to interruption; and rumors were now afloat that Forrest was on his way to the same theatre, with the avowed purpose of compelling the national army to fall back from its conquest. On the 12th of September, Sherman said to Halleck: β€˜There is a large abundance of forage in Alabama and Georgia, and independent columns might operate by a circuit from one army to another, and destroy the enemy's cavalry. . . . Our [rail] road is repaired and bringing ’

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