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[484] creek in a dense fog. Nothing could be seen, but the commands to halt and dismount could be distinctly heard. Hood's ordnance train had just left Sugar creek, and orders from the river came to hold the enemy back if possible; and every Confederate felt the importance of the crisis. On came the enemy in the fog to within thirty yards of Featherstone's breastworks, when a deadly fire was opened on them, the long pent — up Rebel yell burst forth, and the Federals fled in dismay through the creek, with the Confederates after them, while Dillon, charging in the rear, completed the rout. The enemy were severely punished, but more frightened than hurt, and left behind them one hundred and fifty horses and many overcoats, that were of great value to shivering men; but the grand result was that the pursuit was permanently checked and the enemy came no more. General Wilson, who ignores this fight, says he was out of rations; could not bring Forrest to a fight, and heard the main body of Rebels had already crossed the Tennessee, and therefore halted. The truth is the infantry had not all reached the river, and the ordnance train left Sugar creek that morning. General Thomas, speaking of Hood's army, says: “With the exception of his rear-guard, his army had become a disheartened and disorganized rabble. . . The rear-guard, however, was undaunted and firm, and did its work bravely to the last.”

Forrest was now admitted by all to be a military genius, which a distinguished military writer thus describes:

There is no art that requires greater natural gifts than the art of war: mind and body must here co-operate, and both must be sound and vigorous.

The talent to seize. as it were, with a glance, the advantages and disadvantages which may arise from the situation of ground or troops, and to single them out from all other objects — this characterizes the man born to become a general. This coup d'oiel, namely, the comprehensive one, which, in unexpected results and in the most violent changes of fortune and calculations, enables the general to discern quickly and to judge correctly of his situation, and then, with firm determination, to extort, as it were, from fortune that which she will not freely give; or prudent and judicious, to extricate himself from a dangerous position; this is not to be acquired; this can be reduced to no general formula, nor be deliniated upon plans and blackboards; but is, in the strictest sense of the word, military genius.

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Sugar Creek (Tennessee, United States) (2)

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John B. Hood (2)
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Edward Dillon (1)
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