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[209] back across the river on the pike at the same time. The force is reported to be infantry, but I do not regard it as being probable. Wilson has gone with his main force to learn the facts, and drive the enemy back, if practicable.

In the appendix to General Thomas's report the date of the above despatch is given as ‘3:30 A. M.’ It was answered by General Thomas at ‘10:30 P. M.’ and his answer was received by me November 29 (no hour mentioned in the records). The Department of the Ohio records say that I sent it at ‘2:30 P. M.’ The appendix to my report mentions the date ‘November 29,’ but does not give the hour. My official report, as published, also says this information was received ‘about 2 A. M. on the 29th’; but this is evidently a clerical error: clearly the report should read, ‘about 2 P. M. on the 28th.’

But our cavalry was unable to drive that of the enemy back, and hence Hood was free to lay his pontoon bridge and cross his infantry and artillery at any point above Columbia. We had not been able to hold even the crossings near us.

The same day, November 28, at 4 P. M., I telegraphed:

If Hood advances on the Lewisburg and Franklin pike, where do you propose to fight him? I have all the force that is necessary here, and General Smith's troops should be placed with reference to the proposed point of concentration.

And again, at 6 P. M.:

The enemy's cavalry in force has crossed the river on the Lewisburg pike, and is now in possession of Rally Hill.

Wilson is trying to get on to the Franklin road ahead of them. He thinks the enemy may swing around in between him and me, and strike Spring Hill, and wants Hammond's brigade to halt there. Please give it orders if you know where it is. Also, I think it would be well to send A. J. Smith's force to that place.

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