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‘ [150] men. Give them such organization, as you can. They will be of some use.’

On the 13th, at 3.30 P. M., he announced his decision to the government. ‘On mature reflection, I believe Sherman's proposition is the best that can be adopted. With the long line of railroad in rear of Atlanta, Sherman cannot maintain his position. If he cuts loose, destroying the road from Chattanooga forward, he leaves a wide and destitute country to pass, before reaching territory now held by us. Thomas could retain force enough to meet Hood's army, if it took the other and more likely course.’ Then, with his usual enthusiasm whenever Sherman was concerned, he added: ‘Such an army as Sherman has, and with such a commander, is hard to corner or to capture.’

Grant indeed was already very much in earnest, and on the same day, October 13th, he issued full and detailed instructions to Halleck to provide supplies for Sherman on his arrival at the coast. ‘Vessels should be got ready loaded with grain, ordnance-stores, and provisions;—say two hundred thousand rations of grain and fifty thousand rations of provision, and one hundred rounds of ammunition for that number of infantry. . . Soon after it is known that Sherman has started south, these vessels should sail, and rendezvous at Ossabaw Sound. I take it, the first supplies will have to be received by way of that river.’ In the same despatch he gave directions for the coopera-tion of Canby and Foster, and added: ‘Information should be got to Sherman of all preparations made to meet him on the sea-coast.’1

1 General Sherman was evidently unacquainted with the contents of these despatches when he wrote in his Memoirs, Vol. II., page 166, that November 2nd ‘was the first time that General Grant assented to the march to the sea.’ The telegrams to Halleck and Stanton he probably never saw, and those to himself, of the 11th and 12th of October, appear not to have reached him. The wires were cut between his army and the North at this time. See page 153.

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