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[204] referred to by General Rousseau could not be made available for the protection of the pontoon bridge where it before was—at the crossing of the turnpike. I abandoned that bridge-head on the night of November 27, upon receipt of information leading me to believe that Hood intended to cross Duck River above Columbia.

On November 25 General Thomas telegraphed me, in the following terms, his approval of the dispositions I had made, and the information that he had already ordered the concentration of troops which I suggested in my despatch of the 24th:

Your cipher despatch of 8:30 P. M. is just received; some difficulty in transmission the cause. Your arrangements are judicious and approved. I gave orders two days ago to make the concentration you suggest, and hope it will be nearly or quite completed to-day. Will telegraph you further this morning.

This despatch was more than twelve hours in transmission.

Again, November 26, I reported the situation at Columbia, and my action, as follows; also suggesting that infantry be sent forward at once:

The enemy has kept up a strong demonstration with dismounted cavalry since yesterday morning. He now shows a column of infantry on the Mount Pleasant pike, about three miles distant. I cannot yet tell how great the force. I have drawn my force in the interior line, and will fight him there. If you have any infantry available, I think it should be sent forward at once.

Yet no infantry reinforcements were sent, although the ‘7000 men’ at Chattanooga could easily have reached Columbia before that time.

At 8 A. M. the next day General Thomas replied as follows:

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