for the reader to realize that when I asked for and received orders to report with the Twenty-third Corps to General Thomas
, I felt in the fullest degree all the deference and respect which were due to his seniority in years and rank and services.
When I went back to Tennessee
my only anxiety respecting the situation, so far as General Thomas
's personality affected it, was on account of his constitutional habit of very deliberate action.
I was apprehensive that, in some emergency created by the action of the daring and reckless, though not over-talented, antagonist he would have to meet, General Thomas
might not be able to determine and act quickly enough to save from defeat his army, then understood to be so far inferior to the enemy in numerical strength.
I had far too high an opinion of his capacity as a general to doubt for a moment that with sufficient time in which to mature his plans to resist Hood
's invasion and to execute those plans so far as was in his power, he would do all that the wisest generalship could suggest.
I will also refer to the official returns of that period, which show what troops General Thomas
had elsewhere in his department and available for service, as well as the effective strength of the force then under my immediate command in the field, and that of General A. J. Smith
's three divisions, which had been ordered from Missouri
to join the forces of General Thomas
In his entire department, excluding the Fourth and Twenty-third corps in the field, the infantry and artillery force, present for duty equipped, officers and men, November 20, 1864, amounted to 29,322; the two corps in the field, to 24,265; and A. J. Smith
's corps, to about 10,000.
The entire cavalry force, mounted and equipped, was about 4800; that unmounted, about 6700.
It is necessary to exclude from this statement of troops available for service in middle Tennessee