- Hood forces the crossing of Duck River -- importance of gaining time for Thomas to concentrate reinforcements at Nashville -- the affair at Spring Hill -- incidents of the night retreat -- Thomas's reply to the request that a bridge be laid over the Harpeth -- the necessity of standing ground at Franklin -- Hood's formidable attack -- serious error of two brigades of the rear -- guard -- brilliant services of the reserve -- yellow fever averted -- Hood's assaults repulsed -- Johnston's criticism of Hood -- the advantage of continuing the retreat to Nashville.
in the afternoon of November 28 I received information that the enemy's cavalry had forced the crossing of Duck River above Columbia, and driven our cavalry back; and, about two o'clock that night, that prisoners reported the enemy laying pontoon bridges, and that Hood's infantry would begin to cross that morning. The army was ready to march at a moment's notice. It could have retired to Spring Hill or to Franklin without molestation or delay, but that would have given the enemy the crossing of Duck River at Columbia and the turnpike road for his advance with his artillery and trains. There was no assurance that Thomas had assembled any of his expected reinforcements at Nashville or elsewhere. It was known that orders had been given some days before looking to concentration of some of the troops in his department somewhere, but what had been accomplished I was not