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[60] He was compelled again to follow, but on the way he telegraphed to Grant: ‘Hood is now crossing the Coosa, twelve miles below Rome—bound west. If he passes over to the Mobile and Ohio 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.’

Grant, 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. Grant always preferred to fight his enemy; Sherman, perhaps, liked better to win by manoeuvring. Grant, 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 ’

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