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[195] were extremely anxious in regard to Sherman, whose romantic enterprise had affected the public imagination far more than the greater but more ordinary peril of Thomas, in Tennessee. Grant, however, allayed their fears: he showed them how Thomas being set to hold Hood, and Sheridan retained to watch Early, while Meade and Butler held fast to Lee, left no large force to oppose the advance of Sherman; and that Sherman in his turn moved in such a way as to cut off Lee's supplies, the most important of which now came from Georgia, since Sheridan had laid waste the Valley.

When the listeners understood how each army was thus supported by some other force in a different quarter of the military theatre, and each operation tended to the success of another movement hundreds of miles away, their interest was heightened in the great lieutenants who were working out the scheme. And then the chief kindled into magnanimous enthusiasm. He declared that the country could not think higher of Sheridan and Thomas and Schofield than he did, nor than they deserved; that the men themselves could not be gladder at their own success than he. Thomas, he said, was like a rock, when attacked; while if Sherman came safely through his present campaign, he would stand in the estimation of all, where he already stood in his—the greatest general of the age.

They to whom Grant spoke were themselves the leaders and makers of opinion, and in their presence the usually taciturn soldier was roused to fluent utterance. He told them of the waning spirit of the South, and proved it by the desertions from Lee's army, which, since the elections, had amounted

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