moving at right angles with his own, and their junction at a point still in the enemy's hands was indispensable.
himself declared: ‘Were I to express my measure of the relative importance of the march to the sea, and of that from Savannah
northward, I would place the former at one, and the latter at ten, or the maximum.’1
On the 29th of January, he wrote to Grant
: ‘You may rest assured that I will keep my troops well in hand, and if I get worsted, will aim to make the enemy pay so dearly that you will have less to do. . . . I must risk Hood
, and trust to you. . . . to hold Lee
, or be on his heels, if he comes south.’
This was the last dispatch Grant
had from Sherman
till the 12th of March.
Amid all these movements of his great subalterns, the general-in-chief
himself remained apparently quiescent; but he was not without his reasons for this course.
On the 4th of February, he said to Stanton
: ‘I do not want to do anything to force the enemy from Richmond
carries out his programme.
He is to take Wilmington
, and then push out to Goldsboro
, or as near it as he can go, and build up the road after him. He will then be in a position to assist Sherman
should leave Richmond
with any considerable force, and the two together will be strong enough for all the enemy have to put against them.
is being reinforced from here with the fragments of divisions which were left behind when he started on his expedition. . . . I shall necessarily have to take the odium of apparent inactivity, but if it results, as I expect it will, in the discomfiture of Lee
's army, I shall be entirely satisfied.’