I arrived at Franklin
with the head of my column a short time before the dawn of day, November 30; indicated to General J. D. Cox
, commanding the Twenty-third Corps, the line upon which the troops were to be formed; and intrusted to him the formation, as the several divisions of both corps should arrive, General Stanley
being in the rear directing the operations of the rear-guard.
The Twenty-third Corps occupied the center of the line crossing the Columbia turnpike
, and extended to the river on the left, while the Fourth Corps was to extend the line to the river on the right.
Fortunately the natural position was such that Kimball
's division of the Fourth Corps was sufficient, leaving both Wood
's and Wagner
's in reserve.
I then gave my undivided attention to the means of crossing the Harpeth River
Two days before I had telegraphed to General Thomas
suggesting that he have a pontoon bridge laid at Franklin
, to which he replied: ‘You can send some of the pontoons you used at Columbia
to lay a bridge there.’1 General Thomas
or his staff should have known that it was utterly impossible for me to use the pontoons which I had at Columbia
Those pontoons were heavy wooden bateaux, and there were no wagons to transport them, the train that brought them there having been taken away, it is presumed by his order, certainly not by mine.
Hence I was compelled to burn that pontoon bridge as well as the railroad bridge (partially) when my troops retreated from Ducktown
But even if this were not all true, Thomas
knew the enemy was already crossing Duck River
on my flank, and that I must speedily take up a new position behind the Harpeth
, and that I desired him to provide the means for my army to cross that river.
It was a reasonable inference that I should not have asked him to send another bridge if I already had one that I could use. Besides, I