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[228] He then went on to state a general idea of his plans for Sherman's future action, but without giving minute directions. ‘With your veteran army, I hope to get control of the only two through routes from East to West, possessed by the enemy before the fall of Atlanta. This condition will be filled by holding Savannah and Augusta, or by holding any other port to the east of Savannah and Branchville. If Wilmington falls, a force from there will co-operate with you.’

All this while, he remained as anxious as ever to utilize his various forces in every field. On the 28th of November, he had said to Sheridan: ‘My impression now is that you can spare the Sixth corps with impunity: I do not want to make the order for it imperative, but unless you are satisfied that it is necessary for the defence of the Valley, I should like to get it here as early as possible.’ On the 3rd of December, he announced to Meade: ‘The Sixth corps will probably begin to arrive here to-night, or in the morning. As soon as it does get here, I want you to move with the Second, and about two divisions of the Fifth corps, down the Weldon road, destroying it as far to the south as possible.’ Later on the same day, he continued: ‘I think there should be a force of twenty thousand, and then all the reserves that can possibly be spared from the lines should be held ready to go after the enemy, if he follows.’ This movement would be simultaneous with that of Palmer in North Carolina, and both were intended, not only to distress Lee still further for his supplies, but to prevent reinforcements being sent to

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