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[193] whatever he chose to take, all in the best state of preparation, had marched in another direction; and a desperate effort, it was evident, was about to be made to strike at Thomas, whose fragmentary command was still scattered from Missouri to East Tennessee.

The very boldness of Hood's movement was calculated to affect the spirit of his troops. They knew, if defeated, that no other army remained, or could be collected at the West, in defence of their cause. They were to meet their old enemy. The eyes of the South were upon them; the rebel President himself had journeyed from Richmond to incite them. Sherman had left them an open door; and they were about to re-claim the soil upon which many of them had been born. Had Hood attacked Thomas before Schofield arrived, the result must have been disastrous to the national cause. But Forrest had not returned from West Tennessee, and the rebel chief had lost some of the ardor which characterized the assaults before Atlanta. If his strategy was still bold, his tactics were certainly tamer. He lingered around Florence when every hour's delay was of incalculable advantage to his adversary, and for twenty days, at this crisis of his fortune, he neither followed Sherman nor assaulted Schofield.

On the 17th of November, as there were no indications of an immediate movement in any quarter of the field, Grant travelled from City Point to Burlington, New Jersey, where his children were at school. He took with him a single aide-de-camp, and a telegraph operator, that he might retain communication with the armies. On the 19th, a rumor

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