forced to follow.
I hold Atlanta
with the Twentieth corps, and have strong detachments along my line.
This reduces my active force to a comparatively small army.
We cannot remain here on the defensive.
With the twenty-five thousand men and the bold cavalry he has, he can constantly break my roads.
I would infinitely prefer to make a wreck of the road and of the country from Chattanooga
, including the latter city, send back all my wounded and worthless, and with my effective army, move through Georgia
, smashing things, to the sea. Hood
may turn into Tennessee
, but I believe he will be forced to follow me. Instead of my being on the defensive, I would be on the offensive; instead of guessing at what he means to do, he would have to guess at my plans.
The difference in war is full twenty-five per cent. I can make Savannah
, or the mouth of the Chattahoochee
Answer quick, as I know we shall not have the telegraph long.’
answered the same night at 11.30 P. M.: ‘Your despatch of to-day received.
If you are satisfied the trip to the sea-coast can be made, holding the line of the Tennessee
firmly, you may make it, destroying all the railroad south of Dalton
, as you think best.’
The only question on which they had for a few hours differed was whether it was not better to fight Hood
before the march was made.
declared that Hood
would follow him; Grant
was certain that the rebel army would go north.
first suggested the destruction of the railroad, but to this Grant
never objected, although it left the national army at the start a hundred and