The great danger was that Lee
might not be inclined to sit quietly in Richmond
, besieged by Grant
, while Sherman
, comparatively unopposed, passed through the states of South
and North Carolina
, cutting off and consuming the supplies on which the army of Northern Virginia relied, and assuming a position from which the two great national armies could be united in co-operation against the rebel capital.
should succeed in escaping from Grant
, and, reinforced by Beauregard
's command, strike Sherman
inland, between Columbia
, the danger to the national forces would be extreme.
had said to Sherman
on the 18th of January: ‘From about Richmond
I will watch Lee
closely, and if he detaches much more, or attempts to evacuate, will pitch in. In the mean time, should you be brought to a halt anywhere, I can send two corps of thirty thousand effective men to your support from the works about Richmond
This was indeed a very different campaign from the famous march, which, after all, was a march, and not a campaign.
moved away from his enemy, and left a subordinate to destroy him; now he was advancing upon one, and possibly against two, rebel armies; for not only the fragments of Hood
's command, and the garrison of Savannah
, and all the movable forces which had been unable to withstand the advance from Atlanta
, were certain to be in his path, but Lee
himself with the army of Northern Virginia might combine with these to destroy him. In his former march he had advanced towards the sea, completely across the theatre of war; now he was to strike a point in the interior of the enemy's country, towards which another national army was