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“ [530] that evening or the next morning, as they approached and formed to attack Cheatham. At this juncture the last messenger returned with the report that the road had not been taken possession of. General Stewart was then ordered to proceed to the right of Cheatham and place his corps across the pike, north of Spring Hill. By this hour, however, twilight was upon us, when General Cheatham rode up in person. I at once directed Stewart to halt, and, turning to Cheatham, I exclaimed with deep emotion, as I felt the golden opportunity fast slipping from me, ‘General, why in the name of God have you not attacked the enemy and taken possession of that pike?’ He replied that the line looked a little too long for him, and that Stewart should first form on his right.” --Advance and Retreat, pp. 285, 286.

Here again General Hood's memory proved treacherous. As to the preliminary statements of this paragraph, I refer to that portion of my account which covers the doings of the hours from 4 to 6 P. M., during most of which time General Hood was on the ground and in frequent personal communication with me. The dramatic scene with which he embellishes his narrative of the day's operations only occurred in the imagination of General Hood.

“It was reported to me after this hour that the enemy was marching along the road, almost under the light of the camp-fires of the main body of the army. I sent anew to General Cheatham to know if at least a line of skirmishers could not be advanced in order to throw the Federals in confusion, to delay their march and allow us a chance to attack in the morning. Nothing was done. * * * I could not succeed in arousing the troops to action, when one good division would have sufficed to do the work. * * * Had I dreamed for one moment that Cheatham would have failed to give battle, or at least to take position across the pike and force the enemy to assault him, I would have ridden myself to the front and led the troops into action.” Advance and Retreat, p. 287.

The next order, in a shape of a suggestion that I had better have my pickets to fire upon straggling troops passing along the pike in front of my left, was received, and was immediately communicated to General Johnson, whose division was on my left and nearest the pike. This note from Major Mason, received about midnight, was the only communication I had from General Hood after leaving him at his quarters at Captain Thompson's.

“In connection with this grave misfortune, I must here record an act of candor and nobility upon the part of General Cheatham, which proves him to be equally generous-hearted and brave. I was, necessarily, ”

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