confused and deceived the rebel generals that neither concentration nor effective opposition was accomplished.
The army marched straight on, as it had been ordered; it was never seriously incommoded or obstructed; its route was unchanged, its progress unimpeded; no plan was foiled, except when the prisoners were removed from Millen
; and the sea was reached with the command absolutely in better condition than at the Start.
Not only was the injury done to the resources of the enemy all that had been contemplated, but the moral effect upon the rebel population and authorities everywhere was prodigious.
The realities of war were brought home for the first time to many who had been instrumental in involving both the North
and the South
in its calamities; while the march of a national army directly through the Confederacy
was a demonstration that the government was irresistible.
Sixty thousand men had been transferred to a position from which Grant
could either move them at once against Richmond
, or attempt whatever other military enterprise he deemed desirable.
The victory at Nashville
, occurring almost on the same day on which Sherman
reached the sea, made a completeness of success, extending over half a continent, seldom rivalled in war. The justification of Sherman
's original boldness and of Grant
's comprehensive sagacity was absolute.
The whole country rang with applause.
Antiquity was searched for a parallel, and the march of Sherman
was compared with that of Xenophon
And, indeed, the disappearance of an army for a month from the outside