success of the army under my superior in command.
Why run any further risk?
If it had been possible for me, at that moment of supreme satisfaction, to have had any thought of self, I might perhaps have considered the project of turning upon my adversary at dawn the next morning, in the hope of routing his dispirited army.
But if any man thinks such a thought possible under such circumstances, he knows nothing about the character of a patriotic soldier.
If the troops I then had at Franklin
had been the sole reliance for ultimate success in the campaign, nothing could have been clearer than my duty to turn and strike with all my might at dawn the next day.
(A copy of all the correspondence between General Thomas
and myself, with annotations showing the time of receipt of the several despatches from General Thomas
, thereby showing their influence upon my actions, has been placed on file at the War Department.
These copies of despatches, with annotations, are intended mainly for the military student who may care to make a close and critical study of such military operations.
The original records of such correspondence are often worse than useless, for the reason that the exact time of sending and receipt of a despatch is so often omitted.
All sent or received the same day are frequently printed in the records indiscriminately, so that the last is as likely to come first as otherwise; and, sometimes, historians have used despatches as if they had been received at the time they were sent, though in fact many hours or some days had elapsed.
My annotations were made in 1882-3, at Black Point
, San Francisco, California, with the assistance of my ever faithful and efficient aide, Colonel William M. Wherry
, now lieutenant-colonel of the 2d United States Infantry, and were attached to the copies of the records in 1886.)