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[182] Thomas, however, disliked the project. On the 17th, he said, ‘I hope you will adopt Grant's idea of turning Wilson loose,1 rather than undertake the plan of a march with the whole force through Georgia, to the sea, inasmuch as General Grant cannot co-operate with you, as at first arranged.’ He was especially averse to being left behind, and telegraphed on the 18th: ‘I don't wish to be in command of the defences in Tennessee, unless you and the authorities at Washington deem it absolutely necessary.’

But on the 19th, Sherman gave him positive orders: ‘I will send back to Tennessee the Fourth corps, all dismounted cavalry, all sick and wounded men, and all encumbrances. . . I want you to remain in Tennessee, and take command of all my division not actually with me. . . If you can defend the line of the Tennessee in my absence of three months, it is all I ask.’ Thomas's opposition ceased this day. He forwarded a copy of Sherman's despatch to Grant, and although he had objected not only to the movement, but to his own position in it, he said not a word of this to the generalin-chief, but with true soldierly spirit declared: ‘I ’

1 When Sherman originally proposed to move to the sea, leaving Hood in his rear, Grant, it will be remembered, at once declared that Hood should be first destroyed. It was then that he said: ‘With Wilson turned loose with all your cavalry, you will find the rebels put much more on the defensive than hitherto.’ This is the only mention of Wilson's name in Grant's despatches for weeks, and it is to this doubtless that Thomas refers; but this despatch was dated 11 A. M. on the 11th of October, and Thomas had forgotten, or perhaps never knew, that at 11.30 P. M. the same night, Grant reconsidered his decision, and authorized the march to the sea.

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