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[367] Accordingly, on the 26th of January, Grant directed Thomas to forward A. J. Smith's division to Canby, and three thousand cavalry to Vicksburg.

Canby, meanwhile, had received his orders to move from the Gulf of Mexico towards Montgomery and Selma. On the 18th of January, the general-in-chief instructed him to ‘make an independent campaign, looking to the capture of Mobile first, if the job does not promise to be too long a one, and Montgomery and Selma, and the destruction of all roads, machine-shops, and stores the main object.’ The two last-named places were the greatest storehouses and factories for railroad engines and ordnance now left to the rebels, west of Augusta and Richmond, and their destruction constituted an object of primal importance, which Grant was far more anxious to accomplish than the capture of Mobile. That town had been closed as a port by the seizure of the forts in August, 1864, and its absolute possession was to him of secondary consequence. It was the essentials only that he ever sought to obtain, and the acquisition of the munitions of war at Selma or Montgomery far outweighed in importance, to his practical mind, the glory of the capture of Mobile.

His orders in regard to Schofield's movement were now minute and constant, and he in reality directed the operation as closely as if he had been chief of staff. On the 24th of January, he said: ‘As rapidly as it can be sent, in addition to previous calls, I want fifteen miles of railroad iron sent from Norfolk or elsewhere to Beaufort, North Carolina. Men will also be required to lay the track ’

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