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[65] force could be collected in the entire South to oppose Sherman, so long as Lee was held at Richmond. But Thomas's troops were scattered from the Missouri to the Alleghanies. Sherman could no longer direct him; would no longer be responsible for him; and up to this time Thomas had never commanded an independent army; while great defeat on the Tennessee would balance all that the national forces had achieved in every other theatre of war. It was this that made Grant pause; it was this that alarmed the government, which opposed the movement from the beginning. It was this that made Thomas himself declare that he did not wish to be left behind to command the forces in defence of Tennessee.1 It was this that made the great and supreme responsibility which the general-in-chief alone could and did assume.

Sherman's proposed attempt was like, and also unlike, Grant's Vicksburg campaign. It was like, because it was abandoning one base, and seeking another; plunging into an enemy's country, and relying on a hostile region for resources. It was unlike, because Sherman did not expect an enemy in his front, while Grant penetrated between two hostile forces; and because Sherman was uncertain where he should strike, while Grant intended from the beginning to reach the Walnut Hills. It was undoubtedly suggested by Grant's success behind Vicksburg; for Sherman had this one indisputable quality of greatness,—he could be convinced: and

1 ‘There is one thing, however, I don't wish — to be in command of the defence of Tennessee, unless you and the authorities in Washington deem it absolutely necessary.’—Thomas to Sherman, October 18.

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