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 position, that he could defeat Thomas, gain possession of Nashville with its abundant supplies, and thus get the control of Tennessee. The people of the country, in the meantime, were able and willing to furnish our army with supplies, and we had captured rolling stock to put the railroad to Pulaski in successful operation. Hood sent Major General Forrest with the greater part of his cavalry and a division of infantry against Murfreesboro. The infantry did not fulfill expectation, and it was withdrawn. Mercer's and Palmer's brigades of infantry were sent to replace the division. Nothing of importance occurred until the morning of the 15th, and the enemy, having been reenforced by about fifteen thousand men from the transMissis-sippi, attacked simultaneously both flanks of our line. On our right he was repulsed with heavy loss; on our left, toward evening, he carried some of the partially completed redoubts. During the night of the 15th our line was shortened and strengthened, the left being thrown back and dispositions made to meet any renewed attack. The corps of Major General Cheatham was transferred from our right to the left. Early on December 16th the enemy made a general attack on our lines, accompanied by a heavy fire of artillery. All his assaults were repulsed with heavy loss until 3:30 P. M., when a portion of our line to the left of the center suddenly gave way. Up to this time no battle ever progressed more favorably—the troops in excellent spirits, waving their colors and bidding defiance to the enemy; the position he then gained being such as to enfilade us, caused our entire line to give way in a few moments and our troops to retreat in the direction of Franklin, most of them in great confusion. Confidence in the ability to hold the line had caused the artillery horses to be sent to the rear for safety; the abandonment of the position was so unexpected and sudden that it was not possible to bring forward the horses to remove the guns which had been placed in position, and fifty-four of them were consequently lost. Our loss in killed and wounded was small. At Brentwood, about four miles from the field of battle, the troops were partially rallied, and Lieutenant General S. D. Lee took command of the rear guard and encamped for the night. On leaving the field, Hood sent one of his staff officers to inform General Forrest of our defeat, and to direct him to rejoin the army with as little delay as possible, but heavy rains had so swollen the creeks that he was unable to effect the junction with his main force until it reached Columbia. During the 17th the enemy's cavalry pressed boldly on the retreating column, the open character of the country being favorable to cavalry operations. Lieutenant General Lee, commanding the covering force, was severely wounded, but not
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