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[206] cavalry have arrived here from Memphis, dismounted, but they will be mounted here as soon as possible and sent to the front; three regiments should start to-day, making about 1000 men. I have not heard from any of Smith's troops yet; some of them will surely be here to-day. If Hood moves on the Chattanooga road, I will send Smith to Murfreesboroa, as we shall be enabled thereby to concentrate more rapidly. If you can hold Hood on the south side of Duck River, I think we shall be able to drive him back easily after concentrating. Answer, giving your views.

Although that despatch of the 25th was not deciphered so as to be read by me until the 27th, forty-eight hours after it was sent, nevertheless it gave me timely information that Thomas had concentrated all his available troops (except Steedman's, which he appears to have overlooked until the 25th, and about which I had no knowledge) at Murfreesboroa, from which place they could ‘join the main force,’ as I had suggested, in a few hours, either by rail or by wagon-road, as circumstances might indicate. I was also led to infer from Thomas's language on the 25th—‘Some of them [A. J. Smith's troops] will surely be here to-day’—that on the 27th Smith's corps was already at Nashville, and that Thomas was only waiting for information respecting the enemy's designs to select his point of concentration and order all his available troops to join the army in the field at that point. And it was still expected on the 27th that this junction might be effected on the north bank of Duck River, opposite Columbia. Hence I telegraphed General Thomas, November 27, at 12:30 P. M.:

The enemy has made no real attack, and I am satisfied he does not intend to attack. My information, though not very satisfactory, leads me to believe that Hood intends to cross Duck River above Columbia, and as near it as he can. I shall withdraw to the north bank to-night and endeavor to prevent him from crossing. Wilson is operating mainly on my left, with a portion of his command south of the river. I have no late information

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