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[161] at Washington, was urging Grant for permission to start. At 9.30 P. M. of the 2nd, however, Grant's second telegram arrived, and Sherman answered at once: ‘Despatch of 11.30 A. M. received. I will go on and complete my arrangements, and in a few days notify you of the day of my departure. . . I think Jeff. Davis will change his tune, when he finds me advancing in the heart of Georgia, instead of retreating, and I think it will have an immediate effect on your operations at Richmond.’

All telegrams between Grant and his subordinates at the West necessarily passed through Washington, where copies were taken off for the War Department, so that this entire correspondence was seen by the government, as it occurred. It was the only reply made by Grant to the despatch of Stanton, but no more was said in any quarter in opposition to Sherman's march.

Thus, upon the general-in-chief alone the responsibility for the movement rested. Neither his civil superiors, nor his military subordinates, could relieve him from this burden. In case of failure, the country would censure him, not the President nor the Secretary of War, who had deferred to his judgment and invested him with absolute command. If Thomas should be destroyed and the North invaded, if Sherman should be intercepted, and suffer the fate of the French in the Moscow campaign, it was Grant who would be held to account, not the men who obeyed his orders and executed his decisions.

Indeed, from the moment when he accepted the modifications which Sherman proposed, the plan became

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