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‘ [50] river, and form line of battle near Powder Springs. This will prevent him from using the Dalton railroad, and force him to drive me off, or move south, when I shall fall upon his rear.’ It is strange to note how the very movement which Grant and Sherman were discussing, had been considered nearly as soon by the rebel general. He even appeared to desire the national advance, and purposely left the way open for Sherman into Central Georgia. Anticipating the probabilities of the campaign, Hood continued: ‘Would it not be well to move a part of the important machinery at Macon to the east of the Oconee, and do the same at Augusta to the east side of the Savannah?’ As Grant declared in his official report, the rebels ‘exhibited the weakness of supposing that an army which had been beaten and decimated in a vain attempt at the defensive could successfully undertake the offensive against the force that had so often defeated it.’

Sherman promptly reported the new manoeuvre of the enemy: ‘Hood is falling back from Lovejoy's, but I will not follow him now. I will watch him, as I do not see what he designs by this movement.’ He had not long to wait. The rebel President had come from Richmond to the camp of Hood, and all along the road, with extraordinary fatuity, proclaimed the new campaign. At Columbia, in South Carolina, at Macon, and at Palmetto station, he publicly announced that Atlanta was to be recovered; that Forrest was already on the national roads in Middle Tennessee; that Sherman would meet the fate of Napoleon in the retreat from Moscow; and, finally, addressing the army, he

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William T. Sherman (4)
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