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‘ [393] passed out of the state of South Carolina, I think now his course had better be changed. It is not impossible that, in the event of the enemy being driven from Richmond, they may fall back to Lynchburg with a part of their force, and attempt a raid into East Tennessee. It will be better, therefore, to keep Stoneman between our garrisons in East Tennessee and the enemy. Direct him to repeat the raid of last fall, destroying the railroad as far towards Lynchburg as he can. Sheridan starts to-day from Winchester for Lynchburg. This will vastly favor Stoneman.’

Then, with a view to the possibility of a rebel attempt to enter Tennessee from the east, he continued: ‘Every effort should be made to collect all the surplus forage and provisions of East Tennessee at Knoxville, and to get there a large amount of stores besides. It is not impossible that we may have to use a force in that section the coming spring. Preparations should be made to meet such a contingency. If it had been possible to have got Stoneman off in time, he would have made a diversion in favor of Sherman, and would have destroyed a large amount of railroad stock cut off and left in North-West South Carolina. It is too late now to do any good except destroy the stock.’

And thus the chief informed each general of the movements of the others with whom he was to cooperate, so that all might act in harmony. The web was complicated, but the threads were held in a single hand. All these various and distant campaigns were directed in their inception and execution according to a single plan. All Grant's instructions were pregnant with the same principles.

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