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‘ [55] was commenced nothing else was in contemplation but that Sherman, after capturing Atlanta, should connect with Canby at Mobile. Drawing the Nineteenth corps from Canby, however, and the movements of Kirby Smith demanding the presence of all of Canby's surplus forces in another direction, has made it impossible to carry out the plan as early as was contemplated. Any considerable force to co-operate with Sherman on the sea-coast must not be sent from here. The question is whether, under such circumstances, Augusta and Savannah would not be a better line than Selma, Montgomery, and Mobile. I think Savannah might be taken by surprise with one corps from here, and such other troops as Foster could spare from the Department of the South. This is my view, but before giving positive orders, I want to make a visit to Washington and consult on the subject. All Canby can do with his present force is to make demonstrations on Mobile, or up the Appalachicola towards Columbus.’

Then came the reasons that recommended the movement: ‘Either line would cut off the supplies from the rich districts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi equally well. Whichever way Sherman moves, he will undoubtedly encounter Hood's army, and in crossing to the sea-coast, will sever the connection between Lee's army and his district of country.’ Indeed, if Grant had not supposed that Hood would still be Sherman's objective point, he certainly would neither have suggested nor commended the movement. But he went on to say: ‘I wrote to Sherman on this subject, sending my letter by a staff officer. He is ready to attempt (and feels ’

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