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‘ [47] forward supplies, but I doubt its capacity to do much more than feed our trains and artillery horses.’ Then, with his usual subordination, he remarked: ‘As soon as General Grant determines for me the next move on the chess-board, I will estimate the number I will want.’

Meanwhile, the general-in-chief was carefully considering this next move, and on the 12th of September, he sent Colonel Horace Porter, of his staff, to make known his views to Sherman and bring back a reply. He was accustomed to inform the officers of his personal staff very thoroughly of his plans, and often sent them to represent him at the headquarters of his more important generals, with whom he thus communicated more fully and exactly than was possible by other means. Colonel Porter was the bearer of a letter in which, after explaining the situation in Virginia, and announcing a proposed operation against Wilmington, Grant proceeded to develop the suggestion he had already made by telegraph, of a movement towards the Atlantic. ‘What you are to do with the forces at your command I do not exactly see. The difficulties of supplying your army, except when you are constantly moving beyond where you are, I plainly see. If it had not been for Price's movement, Canby could have sent twelve thousand men to Mobile. From your command on the Mississippi an equal number could have been taken. With this force, my idea would have been to divide them, sending one half to Mobile and the other to Savannah. You could then move as proposed in your telegram, so as to threaten Macon and Augusta equally. Whichever was abandoned by the enemy you could take, ’

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