to cross that stream.
This addition to the Fourth and Twenty-third corps would have raised the infantry in the field to nearly an equality with that of Hood
in fact, though not nearly to what Hood
's force was then supposed to be. That increased force would doubtless have made it possible to prevent Hood
from crossing Duck River
anywhere near Columbia
for several days, and perhaps to force him to select some other line of operations, or to content himself with sending his cavalry on another raid.
In any case, the arrival of A. J. Smith
a few days later would have enabled Thomas
to assume the aggressive before Hood
could have struck a serious blow at Thomas
's army in the field.
In view of the earnest desire of General Thomas
to reinforce the army in the field at Columbia
, there does not appear to be any rational explanation of the fact that he did not send those 7000 men from Chattanooga
His own report states the fact about those ‘7000 men belonging to his [General Sherman
's] column,’ but does not give any reason why they were not used in his ‘measures to act on the defensive.’
As General Thomas
says: ‘These men had been organized into brigades, to be made available at such points as they might be needed.’
At what other point could they possibly be so much needed as that where the two corps were trying to oppose the advance of the enemy long enough for Thomas
to get up his other reinforcements?
appears to have been puzzled by doubt whether Hood
would aim for Nashville
or some point on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and not to have realized that his own plan should have been to concentrate all his available active force into one army, so as to move against the enemy with the greatest possible force, no matter what the enemy might do. With the exception of those 7000 men belonging to Sherman
's column, Thomas
had for necessary garrisons and railroad