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[54] had promised, another movement in front of Richmond, partly in order to distract the rebels from too exclusive attention to Sherman, and partly to favor the operations of Sheridan in the Valley.

On the 1st of October, Sherman reported the advance of Hood, and added: ‘If he tries to get on my road this side of the Etowa, I shall attack him; but if he goes on to Selma and Talladega [due west], why would it not do for me to leave Tennessee to the forces which Thomas has, and the reserves soon to come to Nashville, and for me to destroy Atlanta, and then march across Georgia to Savannah or Charleston, breaking roads and doing irreparable damage?’ This at last was the full-born thought. This was the idea which was afterwards embodied in the memorable march. This was to give up not only Atlanta, but the line in the rear to Chattanooga; to set out into an enemy's country, ignorant whether Hood would follow or not, and to push into the interior without supplies, until the sea should be reached. It was not to Augusta, but to Savannah, that Sherman now proposed to move, and it might be necessary at the end of the march, to fight before an exit could be made and supplies obtained.

But the rebels at once attacked the national railroad south of the Etowa, and Sherman was obliged to follow with his army. His whole attention for a while was concentrated upon the rear, and the new suggestion remained for a week or more unanswered. During this time, however, Grant was considering Sherman's future and arranging to facilitate his operations, though without his knowledge. Sherman's telegram was dated October 1st, and on the 4th, the general-in-chief wrote to Halleck: ‘When this campaign ’

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