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‘ [156] can send, will be used between the Tennessee river and the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. If he goes south, he must take care of himself, without the support of a pursuing column.’ Then, as if with a premonition of what was about to occur, and to answer objection in advance, he continued: ‘I am satisfied, on full and mature reflection, that Sherman's idea of striking across for the sea-coast is the best way to rid Tennessee and Kentucky of the threatened danger, and to make the war felt. I do not believe that General Sherman can maintain his communications with Atlanta with his whole force. He can break such an extent of roads that the enemy will be effectually cut in two for several months, by which time Augusta and Savannah can be occupied.’

Rawlins, however, was intensely opposed to the proposed march of Sherman, and had combated it with every argument at his disposal. Grant, as a rule, allowed his staff to present their views on military matters freely, and some of them were accustomed to do so with great ability; but when once his decisions were made, they received them as final, and did whatever was in their power to make them succeed. But in this instance, the anxiety of Rawlins led him to an act of downright insubordination. He started for the West, bearing the orders above quoted, and stopped a day at Washington, on the way. Here he saw the President and the Secretary of War, and expressed so forcibly his apprehensions as to the result of allowing Sherman to move south and leave Thomas to contend with Hood, that he actually induced the government to send a despatch to Grant, desiring him to reconsider

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William T. Sherman (4)
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