strike the coast; if he had not been equally sure that Grant
would protect the forces and the country that were left behind—he would no more have attempted the march than Grant
would have allowed it, without his own belief in Sherman
's ability to make it successful.
It needed the two to conceive and perform their double parts in this act of the drama; neither was complete without the other.
It must, however, be remembered that Grant
's responsibility continued far beyond Sherman
's. Neither the general-in-chief
nor the government, nor, it must be said, Sherman
himself, nor his own subordinates, by this time felt overweening anxiety about any of Sherman
's great movements.
He had shown too unmistakably that he possessed the qualities of a great commander.
In this especial instance, Grant
had no fear of absolute disaster to Sherman
, and doubted not that he would find or fight his way to the sea-coast.
It was not on account of Sherman
, who was to set out with sixty thousand men, and no organized army to oppose him, that the anxiety was entertained.
It was because Hood
was left behind to contend with Thomas
; and if Thomas
was defeated, the states of Tennessee
were opened to the enemy, and possibly the country beyond the Ohio
Here was the responsibility; here was the danger.
would start on his novel, and romantic, and dashing campaign; with dangers in front and, possibly, behind; into an unknown region, where for a month he would be lost to the outer world.
might follow him, but Sherman
had already defeated and depleted Hood
; and both Grant
knew that no other important