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[59] blow; the estimate for repairs called for thirty-five thousand new ties, and six miles of iron. But ten thousand men were distributed to repair the road, and in about seven days all was right again.1

Nevertheless, all this had delayed Sherman, and engrossed his attention. Between the 1st and the 9th of October he sent no despatch to the general-in-chief or to Washington, but on the last named day he renewed his recommendations to Grant. ‘It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hood's movements indicate a diversion to the end of the Selma and Talladega railroad, at Blue Mountain, about sixty miles southwest of Rome, from which he will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport, and Decatur, Alabama. I propose that we break up the railroad from Chattanooga, and strike out with wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. Until we can repopulate Georgia it is useless to occupy it; but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads we will lose one thousand men monthly, and will gain no result. I can make the march and make Georgia howl. . . .’

On the 10th, he learned that Hood had crossed the Coosa river, between Rome and the railroad.

1 At this time a national officer at the outposts overheard a group of rebel soldiers conversing. ‘Well,’ said one, ‘the Yankees must retreat now, for Wheeler has blown up the tunnel at Dalton, and they can get no more rations by the railroad.’ ‘Oh, hell!’ replied another, ‘don't you know that Sherman carries a duplicate tunnel along.’

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