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[301] world, its passage through hostile regions, and final emergence with undiminished numbers and enhanced prestige, constituted a romantic episode that might well dazzle the imagination of indifferent spectators, and threw the nation which that army served into an ecstasy of delight and admiration. Even Thomas's success was for the time less esteemed, and although his operations had been worked out with equal effort, and were by soldiers appreciated at least as highly as the unobstructed movements of Sherman, yet to the popular apprehension the march was the more brilliant achievement of the two, and eclipsed in fame the solid results and arduous labors in Tennessee.

Not only this, but in the moment of its elation the country had no thought for him who had controlled and supervised both Thomas and Sherman; who had not only dictated the movements of each, but, by holding Lee, had rendered the success of either practicable. While every meed was offered, and justly offered, to the great soldiers who had saved Tennessee and traversed Georgia, men saw before Richmond only the general who had been besieging the rebel capital for nearly a year, and had not yet succeeded. It was Sherman and Thomas whose names were in all men's mouths. It was Sherman especially who was the hero of the hour.

On the 16th of December, a steamer passed up the Ogeechee, with dispatches from Grant, dated the 3rd, and mails for the troops who had been for more than a month cut off from all communication with the outer world. ‘Not liking,’ said Grant, ‘to rejoice before the victory is assured, I abstain from congratulating you, and those under your command, ’

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