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[383] these simultaneous raids into the Carolinas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia, were intended to break up the railroads of the entire South, so that the transportation of supplies or troops would be an absolute impossibility for another year; while the destruction of food, as well as of arsenals and manufactories of arms, would render the rebellion helpless to recover whenever the blow should be struck which had impended so long.

The government, however, felt some uneasiness about the departure of Sheridan, and what was considered the exposure of the capital. This was intimated to Grant, and on the 26th of February, he telegraphed to Lincoln, explaining his strategy. ‘Sheridan's movement,’ he said, ‘is in the direction of the enemy, and the tendency will be to protect the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and to prevent any attempt to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania.’ Even this did not allay the anxiety entertained at Washington, and, on the 2nd of March, Grant was obliged to say to Stanton: ‘If the returns I have of troops for the Department of Washington are anything like correct, there need not be the slightest apprehension for the safety of the capital. At this time, if Lee could spare any considerable force, it would be for the defence of points now threatened, which are necessary for the very existence of his army.’ Again, on the same day, he telegraphed to the Secretary of War, ‘I don't think it possible for Lee to send anything towards Washington, unless it should be a brigade of cavalry.’

There is a sort of apprehension, difficult to describe or define, that sometimes seizes upon men not only personally brave, but who undoubtedly

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