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[482] repair the damage to the railroad, and otherwise harassing him in his march as much as possible, after conference with General Beauregard, decided to continue his march into Tennessee.1 His reasons for this change of plan are elaborately and forcibly presented in his book, Advance and Retreat, published since the war, in which he emphatically contradicts the attempt which has been made to represent that campaign into Tennessee as one projected by me. The correspondence of General Sherman, published in the same work, shows that Hood was not far wrong in the supposition that Sherman would follow the movement made on his line of communication; the only error was that he could thus draw him beyond the limits of Georgia. After my return to Richmond, a telegram from General Beauregard informed me of the change of program. My objection to that movement remained, and, though it was too late to regain the space and time which had been lost, I replied promptly on November 30, 1864, as follows:

Yours of 24th received. It is probable that the enemy, if short of supplies, may move directly for the coast. When that is made manifest, you will be able to concentrate your forces upon the one object, and I hope, if you can not defeat his attempt, that you may reduce his army to such condition as to be inefficient for further operations.

Until Hood reaches the country proper of the enemy, he can scarcely change the plans for Sherman's or Grant's campaigns. They would, I think, regard the occupation of Tennessee and Kentucky as of minor importance.


To the arguments offered to show that our army could not, after it had reached the Tennessee River, have effectually pursued Sherman in his march through southern Georgia, it is only needful to reply that the physical difficulties set forth would not have existed had our army commenced the pursuit from Gadsden.

To make the movement into Tennessee a success, even so far as to recover that country, it was necessary that it should be executed so promptly as to anticipate the concentration of the enemy's forces, but unforeseen and unavoidable delays occurred, which gave full time for preparation. After having overcome many vexatious detentions, Hood on November 20th completed his crossing of the Tennessee River at Gunter's Landing, and moved forward into Tennessee on the route to Nashville, whither Sherman had sent General Thomas for the protection of his depots and communications against an apprehended attack by cavalry under General Forrest.

1 Advance and Retreat, by General J. B. Hood; letter of General Beauregard to President Davis, p. 278 et seq.

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