, as far as you can transport supplies.’
replied on the 12th: ‘I have no fears that Beauregard
can do me any harm now, and if he attempts to follow you, I will follow him as far as possible.
If he does not follow you, I will then thoroughly organize my troops, and I believe, shall have men enough to ruin him, unless he gets out of my way very rapidly.’
The wires were cut that night, and no further communication was sent or received by Sherman
before his army moved.
As he rode towards Atlanta
, the last railroad trains were going to the rear with furious speed; the engineers waved him adieu, and turning his back on Thomas
set out on his march to the sea.
The military situation at once entirely changed.
The two armies which had been contending for half a year were now marching in diametrically opposite directions, Sherman
south-east and Hood
northwest; while, as soon as Sherman
started from Kingston
became anxious not to capture the rebel capital, and not to drive Lee
out of Petersburg
On the 13th of November, he said to Stanton
: ‘I would not, if I could, just now, do anything to force the enemy out of Richmond
It would liberate too much of a force to oppose Sherman
His whole effort at this juncture was to protect and aid the Western
armies; to make a clear path for Sherman
, to intercept reinforcements for Hood
, and to concentrate whatever force it was possible to give to Thomas
, on whom the brunt of the next fighting was certain to fall.
The rebel government was known to be urging