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[535] and Forrest's troops, and should have compelled the execution of his orders. I was not allowed to cross Rutherford's creek until dark. When I reached the creek, riding in advance of my troops, Cheatham's corps was crossing. A staff officer of his informed me that an attack was to be made. I expected to be hurried forward to support the attack. Instead, I was ordered to form in line of battle before crossing the creek, and about at right angles to it. This, in my poor judgment, was the fatal error. My impression is that Cheatham and his officers thought themselves in great danger of being outflanked and crushed. Had they known my command was coming up to their support, it is likely they would not have hesitated to make the attack. When, about dusk, I received orders to move on across the creek, and rode forward to find the Commanding General, he complained bitterly that his orders to attack had not been obeyed. But he was there himself. I asked him why he had halted me at Rutherford's creek. He replied that he confidently expected Cheatham would attack and rout the enemy; that there was a road leading to Murfreesboro on the other side of the creek. He wished me there to prevent the escape of the routed foe in that direction. Here, I think, was the error. Johnson's division of Lee's corps was with me. That division, reinforced if necessary by one of mine, would have been sufficient to guard that road. The rest of my command should have been pressed forward to reinforce Cheatham and Forrest. I have a note from General Hood, written after we moved round into North Carolina, fully exonerating me from all censure on that occasion.

Very sincerely yours,

Chancellor's Office, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss., October 24, 1881.
Hon. James D. Porter, Nashville, Tenn.:
My Dear Governor,--Your favor of 20th received. You ask me to “read page 286 of Hood's Advance and Retreat, and inform me if he ‘exclaimed with deep emotion’ in your presence to General Cheatham, ‘General, why in the name of God have you not attacked the enemy and taken possession of that pike?’ An immediate answer is requested.”

I have to say, in reply, that I do not think General Hood means to say that this conversation took place in my presence. If he does mean that he is in error, for according to the best of my recollection Generals Hood and Cheatham and myself were at no time together on the day in question, and no such exclamation by Hood to Cheatham could have been made in my presence. I presume he means to say he sent me orders to halt. Such orders, however, were not received; but one of

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B. F. Cheatham (7)
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