James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
showed the same boldness and tenacity in sticking to his purpose when others shook their heads as Grant had shown in his Vicksburg campaign. No general who lacked daring and resolution would have persisted in his determination to advance through Georgia after Hood had crossed the Tennessee river, especially when Grant himself for a while doubted the wisdom of the movement. Sherman was the commander and, even as he knew his men and comprehended the conditions, he knew he could expect no success unless Thomas should defeat Hood. Therein, as the affair turned out, lay the risk. But Sherman knew Thomas through and through. Classmates at West Point, they had ever since been friends and had been drawn closer together by the vicissitudes of the Civil War despite differences of opinion arising from their diverse temperaments. Sherman had implicit confidence in Thomas, thought that he had furnished him a force sufficient for all emergencies and that the defence of Tennessee was not left to chance. If I had Schofield, Thomas telegraphed, I should feel perfectly safe.1 Sherman had already detached Schofields corps from his army and sent it northward with instructions to report to Thomas for orders. On the day that Sherman started for the sea, Thomas sent this word: I have no fear that Beauregard2 [Hood] can do us any harm now, and if he attempts to follow you, I will follow him as far as possible. If he does not follow you I will then thoroughly organize my troops and I believe I shall have men enough to ruin him unless he gets out of the way very rapidly.3