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‘ [365] will go there. If not, he will be sent to Newbern. In either event, all the surplus force at the two points will move to the interior towards Goldsboro, in co-operation with your movement. . . . . All these troops will be subject to your orders as you come in communication with them.’

But this was not all; the torpor of Thomas in the Nashville campaign had determined the general-in-chief to intrust to that commander no more operations in which prompt, aggressive action was necessary. Hood's movements, however, were for a while uncertain; and on the 30th of December, Grant said to Halleck: ‘I have no idea of keeping idle troops at any place, but before taking troops away from Thomas it will be advisable to see whether Hood's army halts at Corinth. I do not think he will, but think he is much more likely to be thrown in front of Sherman. If so, it will be just where we want them to go. Let Thomas collect all his troops not essential to hold his communications, at Eastport. . . . and be in readiness for their removal where they can be used.’

As the plans of the rebels became more apparent, Grant gave orders to break up Thomas's army. On the 14th of January, as we have seen, Schofield's corps was withdrawn from Tennessee, and on the 18th, the general-in-chief said to Halleck: ‘I now understand that Beauregard has gone west to gather up what he can save from Hood's army, to bring against Sherman. If this be the case, Selma and Montgomery can be easily reached. I do not believe, though, that General Thomas will ever get there from the north. He is too ponderous in his preparations and equipments to move ’

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