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[51] turned to a division of Tennessee troops, and exclaimed: ‘Be of good cheer, for in a short while your faces will be turned homeward, and your feet pressing Tennessee soil.’ This imprudent disclosure of the rebel plans was published in the Southern newspapers, and Sherman was of course forewarned. The speech at Macon was made on the 23rd of September, and on the 27th, Sherman telegraphed it to Washington.

Even on the 24th, however, Sherman had said: ‘I have no doubt Hood has resolved to throw himself on our flanks to prevent our accumulating stores, etc. here, trusting to our not advancing into Georgia.’ He accordingly ordered a division at once to Rome, to protect the railroad. On the 25th, he said: ‘Hood seems to be moving as it were to the Alabama line, leaving open to me the road to Macon, as also to Augusta. If I was sure that Savannah would be in our possession, I would be tempted to make for Milledgeville and Augusta, but I must secure what I have.’ Forrest, however, was now rapidly advancing towards the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga, two hundred miles in Sherman's rear, and Grant, with his usual pugnacity, preferred to fight the enemy before the march should be made. He replied to Sherman's telegram: ‘It will be better to drive Forrest from Middle Tennessee as a first step, and then do anything else that you may feel your force sufficient for. When a movement is made on any part of the seacoast, I will advise you.’ The same day Sherman asked for reinforcements, saying: ‘In Middle Tennessee we are weak. . . . I have already sent one division to Chattanooga and another to Rome. . . . ’

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