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‘ [302] until bottom has been struck. I have never had a fear, however, for the result.’ The dispatch contained no minute instructions. ‘In this letter,’ he said, ‘I do not intend to give you anything like directions for future action, but will state a general idea I have, and will get your views after you have established yourself on the sea-coast.’

The next day, however, Grant's letter of December 6th arrived, with definite orders: ‘I have concluded that the most important operation towards closing out the rebellion will be to close out Lee and his army. You have now destroyed the roads of the South, so that it will probably take them three months without interruption to re-establish a through line from East to West. In that time I think the job here will be effectually completed. My idea now is that you establish a base on the sea-coast, fortify, and leave in it all your artillery and cavalry, and enough infantry to protect them, and at the same time so threaten the interior that the militia of the South will have to be kept at home. With the balance of your command, come here with all dispatch. Select yourself the officer to leave in command, but you I want in person. Unless you see objections to this plan which I cannot see, use every vessel going to you for purposes of transportation.’

Sherman at once prepared to carry out these orders, but, as some time would probably be required to collect the necessary shipping, at least a hundred steam or sailing vessels being necessary, he determined to push his operations, with the hope of securing the city of Savannah before he started for the North. Grant's orders arrived on the 15th, and on the 16th, Sherman wrote in reply: ‘Since the receipt ’

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