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‘ [370] not know that you are already fully alive to the importance of it, prompt action.’

Full information of all these arrangements was forwarded to Sherman, so that he might conform his own movements to them, and know where to look for a relieving army in case of disaster, and whither to go in search of supplies.

But Grant was not content with dispositions on the coast in Sherman's favor. On the day on which these instructions were given to Schofield, Thomas was directed to send a cavalry expedition from East Tennessee, under General Stoneman, to penetrate South Carolina, well down towards Columbia, destroying the railroads and military resources of the country, and visiting a portion of the state that could not be reached by Sherman's column. Stoneman was to take three thousand men, and Thomas was also directed to send a small force of infantry to hold the mountain passes in his rear. ‘As the expedition goes to destroy,’ said Grant, ‘and not to fight battles, but to avoid them when practicable against anything like equal forces, or when a great object is to be gained, it should go as light as possible. . . . Let there be no delay in the preparations for the expedition, and keep me advised of its progress.’

It was on the 27th of December, that the general-in-chief definitely instructed Sherman to march with his entire army north by land. At the same time, he directed the formation of an entrenched camp about Pocotaligo or Coosawhatchie, on the railroad between Savannah and Charleston. ‘This,’ he said, ‘will give us a position in the South from which we can threaten the interior without marching over ’

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