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[205]
Your despatch of 10 A. M. yesterday received. I will send you all the available infantry force I can raise. I expect some of Smith's command here to-day, and will send it forward as rapidly as possible. Sent you two regiments of cavalry day before yesterday, two yesterday, and will send another to-day. If you can hold Hood in check until I can get Smith up, we can whip him.

Thus it appears that even as late as November 27 General Thomas had not thought of sending the 7000 men at Chattanooga to ‘join the main force,’ although so anxious that I should hold Hood in check until he could get Smith up. He was still relying entirely upon A. J. Smith, whose advance, so surely expected on the 25th, was still expected on the 27th. It seems incredible that General Thomas had not thought of sending Steedman's troops from Chattanooga, instead of waiting for the uncertain arrival of A. J. Smith.

On November 27 I received an important despatch from General Thomas, dated November 25. It was written under the apprehension that Hood's design might be to move upon the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, as I had suggested to Thomas on the 24th, and informed me fully of his plans and instructions to meet such a movement, requesting me to give him my views in reply. In that despatch General Thomas said:

In case you have to move to the north bank of Duck River, I wish you to keep some cavalry on the south side to observe and delay Hood's advance on the Chattanooga Railroad as much as possible. I hope to have five regiments of Granger's troops in Murfreesboroa to-day. Have made arrangements for Milroy to fall back to Murfreesboroa or this side of Duck River also, if the enemy advances. The cavalry on the south side of Duck River should cover the approaches to Shelbyville, and cross at that place, and hold the bridge in case of an advance in force. I have asked General Steedman how large a force he can raise to threaten the enemy's rear, should he get on the Chattanooga road, and expect an answer soon. About 1000 of Hatch's

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