On the morning of the 4th of December I went to the Headquarters of General Hood, and, referring to his note and the criticism of my conduct, that had evidently been made by some one, I said to him: “A great opportunity was lost at Spring Hill, but you know that I obeyed your orders there, as everywhere, literally and promptly.” General Hood not only did not dissent from what I said but exhibited the most cordial manner, coupled with confidence and friendship. The subject was never again alluded to by General Hood to myself, nor, so far as I knew, to any one. When he wrote, under date of December 11, 1864, to Mr. Seddon that “Major-General Cheatham has frankly confessed the great error of which he was guilty, and attaches much blame to himself,” he made a statement for which there was not the slightest foundation. General Hood concludes this extraordinary chapter of his history of the campaign into Tennessee with some reflections: you as a soldier than I ever had. You can rely upon my friendship. Yours very truly,
The discovery that the army, after a forward march of 180 miles, was still, seemingly, unwilling to accept battle, unless under protection of breast-works, caused me to experience great concern. In my in-most heart I questioned whether or not I would ever succeed in eradicating this evil.--Advance and Retreat, p. 290. I have only attempted to state truthfully the events of the period under review. During my service as a soldier under the flag of my country in Mexico, and as an officer of the Confederate armies, I cannot recall an instance where I failed to obey an order literally, promptly and faithfully. Military operations, however well conceived, are not always successful; and I have had my share of failures and disappointments, but I have never found it necessary to seek for a scape-goat to bear my transgressions, nor to maintain my own reputation by aspersions of my subordinates. No chieftain since the world began has ever commanded an army of men more confident in themselves, more ready to endure and to dare whatever might be required of them, or more capable of exalted heroism than that which obeyed the will of their General from Peach-Tree creek to Nashville. The Army of Tennessee needs no defense against the querulous calumnies which disfigure General Hood's attempt at history.