He was compelled again to follow, but on the way he telegraphed to Grant
is now crossing the Coosa
, twelve miles below Rome
If he passes over to the Mobile
road, had I not better execute the plan of my letter sent by Colonel Porter
, and leave General Thomas
with the troops now in Tennessee
, to defend the state?
He will have an ample force when the reinforcements ordered reach Nashville
, however, with his usual desire to make armies his objective points, at first was unwilling for Sherman
to turn his back on the enemy.
A movement to the sea, it is true, had all along entered into his plans, and we have seen that as soon as Sherman
took possession of Atlanta
, the general-in-chief proposed that he should march towards the Savannah
; but Grant
then supposed that Hood
would be in front, and that Sherman
would be obliged to fight him. Hood
, however, had now entirely changed the situation.
By attacking Sherman
's communications he had compelled that commander to retrace his steps nearly to Chattanooga
; and if Sherman
turned off now to the southeast, he would leave Tennessee
open to Hood
, with nothing to withstand him but the forces that could be got together under Thomas
always preferred to fight his enemy; Sherman
, perhaps, liked better to win by manoeuvring.
, as we have constantly seen, believed that only the destruction of the rebel armies could end the war, and the proposition of Sherman
to plunge into the interior, leaving Hood
's army still undestroyed, at first did not strike him favorably.
He replied on the 11th, at eleven A. M.: ‘Your ’