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[201] the enemy. If Hood advances, whether his design be to strike this place or Columbia, he must move via Lawrenceburg on account of the difficulty of crossing Shoal Creek. Under cover of his cavalry, he can probably reach Lawrenceburg without our knowledge, and move his forces a day's march from that point toward Columbia before we could learn his designs, and thus reach that point ahead of us; or he might move upon this place, and while demonstrating against it throw his forces on to the pike north of us, and thus cut us off from Columbia and from our reinforcements. Lynnville would be free from these objections as a point of concentration for our forces. On the other hand, a force at this point covers the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to the best advantage; but a brigade in the inclosed works at this place could hold out against any force until relieved, while the main force at Lynnville would be sure of concentrating with the troops still in rear. I respectfully submit these views for your consideration.

J. M. Schofield, Major-General.

To this General Thomas replied at once:

Nashville, November 20, 1864.
General Schofield: Your despatch of 2 P. M. this day just received. Two other despatches of to-day were received previous to this one. Do you mean that one brigade in the intrenchments at Pulaski could hold out for a week? The reason I ask is, General Smith cannot get here before next Friday. If one brigade can hold the fortifications of Pulaski for a week or ten days, you are authorized to leave a brigade or a division there, and concentrate the rest of your force at Lynnville preparatory to support Hatch, or fall back on Columbia, whichever may be necessary. Part of Ruger's troops will start for Columbia to-night, the remainder at two o'clock to-morrow, and the railroad superintendent says he will have them at Columbia by to-morrow night. The very moment Smith's troops arrive I will start them for Columbia. In any event, all surplus transportation should be sent to Columbia. I have just received General Hatch's of this P. M., and it seems from it that Hood is advancing. His movements will indicate to you what disposition you should make—whether to concentrate at Columbia or remain at Lynnville.

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