James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  Chapter XIII   OUR story left William T. Sherman in camp at Atlanta during September, 1864. Mentally and bodily in his prime of forty-four, he had added to an ample book-knowledge of his profession three years of fruitful experience in the field, whilst his warm friendship with Grant had proved of great advantage to each and to their country. Now his “busy brain” planned an extraordinary movement, a march to the sea. He proposed to leave Thomas to cope with Hood while, to use his own words, he should make “Georgia howl.” But the President felt much solicitude at his leaving Hood in his rear, believing that “a misstep might be fatal to his army.” Meanwhile Hood crossed the Tennessee river and invaded Tennessee: this movement made Grant doubt the wisdom of the plan and he asked Sherman whether he had not better destroy Hood’s army before starting southward. But Sherman, anticipating this objection, had already sent a despatch to Grant allaying his misgivings and drawing from him the word, “Go as you propose.”  1   The march to the sea, the march northward from Savannah and Thomas’s operations in Tennessee are a combination of bold and effective strategy, possible only after the Chattanooga-Atlanta campaign and a fit sequel to it. A hundred persons may have conceived the design of advancing to the ocean but the genius of the general lay in foreseeing the possible moves of his adversary, in guarding against them and in his estimate of the physical and moral results of cutting the Confederacy in twain. Wise in precaution and fully conscious of the difficulties of the venture, Sherman