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[486] rapidly by the turnpike and railroad to Columbia. On the evening of November 27th our army took position in front of the works at that place. During the night the town was evacuated, and a strong position was taken on the opposite side of the river, about a mile and a half distant. On the evening of the 28th General Forrest crossed Duck River a few miles above Columbia, and in the morning of the 29th Stewart's and Cheatham's corps followed the cavalry, leaving Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee's corps confronting the enemy at Columbia. The cavalry and the two infantry corps moved in light marching order, the object being, by advancing rapidly on roads parallel to the Columbia and Franklin turnpike at or near Spring Hill, to cut off that portion of the foe at Columbia. The movement having been discovered after Hood's forces had got well on the flank of the enemy, he began to retreat along the turnpike toward Spring Hill. About noon of that day the cavalry attacked his trains, but found them too strongly guarded to be captured. The retreat was rapidly conducted along the turnpike, with flankers thrown out to protect the main column. Near Spring Hill Major General Cheatham, being in the advance, commenced to come in contact with the retreating column about two miles from Spring Hill. He was ordered to attack vigorously, and get possession of the turnpike. This was so feebly executed that he failed to attain the object, and the enemy passed on toward Spring Hill. Though the golden opportunity had passed with daylight, Hood did not abandon the hope of effecting by a night movement the end he sought. Accordingly Lieutenant General Stewart was furnished with a guide, and ordered to move his corps beyond Cheatham's, placing it across the road beyond Spring Hill. In the dark and confusion he did not succeed in getting the position desired. About midnight, ascertaining that the enemy was moving in disorder, with artillery, wagons, and troops intermixed, Hood sent instructions to General Cheatham to advance a heavy line of skirmishers, still further to impede the retreat. ‘This was not accomplished. The enemy continued to move along the road in hurry and confusion nearly all the night. Thus was lost a great opportunity for striking him for which we had labored so long—the greatest this campaign had offered, and one of the greatest during the war. Lieutenant General S. D. Lee, left in front of the enemy at Columbia, was instructed to press him the moment he abandoned his position at that point. He did not abandon his works until dark, showing that his trains obstructed the road for fifteen miles during the day and a great part of the night.’ At daylight Hood pursued the enemy so rapidly as to compel him to burn a number of his wagons. On the hills about four miles south of Franklin, he made demonstration

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