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[374] dispatched from Virginia to South Carolina, his native state, with extraordinary powers to raise men, money, and horses.1 He was supposed by Sherman to have two small divisions of cavalry in the neighborhood of Columbia. The scattered fragments of Hood's army were also hurrying rapidly across Georgia by way of Augusta, to make junction in the national front; and these, with Hardee, Wheeler, Bragg, and Hampton's troops, would amount to forty thousand men; a formidable force, sufficient, if handled with spirit and energy, to make the passage of rivers like the Santee and Cape Fear a difficult undertaking.

Both Grant and Sherman therefore instructed Foster to watch the inland progress as closely as possible, and provide points of security or refuge along the coast, to which the army could turn in case of disaster. Schofield also was directed by the general-in-chief to make careful and anxious preparations for such a contingency. It was, however, extremely desirable that Sherman should reach Goldsboro at a single stride. The distance was four hundred and twenty-five miles, but the place was of exceeding importance in any ulterior operations. Goldsboro is the first point north of Columbia where any railway running east crosses the great northern and southern line; but here the railroads meet that leave the coast at Wilmington and Newbern. Upon Goldsboro, therefore, Grant had directed the coop-erative movement of Schofield, and, as far as it was possible to determine in a campaign of this peculiar character, Goldsboro was to be the objective point of Sherman's column.

1 Sherman's ‘Memoirs.’

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