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[176] Mexico, steamers on the Missouri and the Mississippi, railways east and west of the Alleghanies—all were busy conveying forces and stores for the same object; the troops of Rosecrans, and Canby, and Foster, were all in motion, and their operations were all planned, to support the operations of Thomas and Sherman.

Grant himself remained at City Point, closely watching every contingency, and holding Lee fast so that he could neither reinforce Hood nor intercept Sherman. On the 15th of November, he said: ‘The movement now being made by the army under General Sherman may cause Lee to detach largely from the force defending Richmond. Should this occur, it will become our duty to follow.’ Orders were accordingly given to prepare for this emergency. To Meade Grant said: ‘The army north of the James will be promptly withdrawn and put in the trenches about Petersburg, thus liberating all of your infantry and cavalry and a sufficient amount of artillery. . . . Hold yourself in readiness to start in the shortest time with twelve days rations.’ To Butler he wrote: ‘In case it should be necessary for you to withdraw from north of the James, abandon all of your present lines except at Deep Bottom and Dutch Gap. Just occupy what you did prior to the movement which secured our present position.’ This withdrawal, however, was to be temporary only, and with characteristic forethought, Grant continued: ‘Open to the rear all enclosed works, so that when we want to retake them, they will not be directed against us.’

Tennessee, however, was the theatre where the interest of the war now culminated; the key-point,

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