's own. It was he who was responsible for its success or failure; it was he who authorized it; it was he who must provide supplies for one army and reinforcements for the other; who must direct the movements all over the continent, of Canby
, as well as of Meade
, so that all should contribute to the safety of the imperilled armies; it was he whose downfall was certain, if either campaign proved disastrous; it was he who, seated in his hut at City Point
, balanced the armies, and put his troops first into one scale and then into the other, according as emergency required; it was he to whom the nation turned in its agony, knowing that it had committed its destinies into his hands, trusting him as men trust the master of a ship in a storm, as they trust an unknown power when they themselves are helpless—trying hard to hope, but full of anxiety and alarm.
And at no moment during the war was the crisis more tremendous, the responsibility more appalling.
Success in both of the great operations now ordered would go far to terminate the rebellion, but failure in either appeared irreparable: the defeat of Thomas
would open the entire region north of the Ohio
to invasion, while the destruction of the splendid and gallant army of Sherman
would shock and dishearten the country beyond measure.
And there seemed imminent danger of each catastrophe.
was threatening and bold, and Thomas
had not yet collected his forces; while the bare idea of an army plunging, as Sherman
was about to do, into the interior of a hostile country, without base, or communications, or supplies,