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
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.’
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 added: ‘Information should be got to Sherman
of all preparations made to meet him on the sea-coast.’1