“  much pained by the disappointment suffered, and, a few days later, telegraphed to Richmond to withdraw my previous recommendation for his promotion, and to request that another be assigned to the command of his corps. Before the receipt of a reply, this officer called at my headquarters — then at the residence of Mr. Overton, six miles from Nashville — and, standing in my presence, spoke an honest avowal of his error, in the acknowledgment that he felt we had lost a brilliant opportunity at Spring Hill to deal the enemy a crushing blow, and that he was greatly to blame. I telegraphed and wrote to the War Department to withdraw my application for his removal, in the belief that, inspired with an ambition to retrieve his shortcoming, he would prove in the future doubly zealous in the service of his country.” The following are the dispatches above referred to:
Major-General Cheatham, for reasons which I will write more fully.
Headquarters, six miles from Nashville, on Franklin pike, December 8, 1864.A good Lieutenant-General should be sent here at once to command the corps now commanded by Major-General Cheatham. I have no one to recommend for the position.
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War; General G. T. Beauregard, Macon, Ga.:
Major-General Cheatham made a failure on the 30th of November which will be a lesson to him. I think it best he should remain in his position for the present. I withdraw my telegrams of yesterday and to-day on this subject.
On the 11th of December I wrote to Hon. Mr. Seddon: * * * Major-General Cheatham has frankly confessed the great error of which he was guilty, and attaches much blame to himself. While his error lost so much to the country, it has been a severe lesson to him, by which he will profit in the future. In consideration of this, and of his previous conduct, I think that it is best that he should retain for the present the command he now holds. * * * *--[Advance and Retreat, pp. 289, 290.