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[210]

In the night of November 28-9, about 2 A. M., I received the report of the cavalry commander, conveying the information given him by prisoners that the enemy had commenced to bridge the river near Huey's Mill, and urging the necessity of immediate retreat to Franklin.1 The staff officer who handed me the despatch called my attention especially to the words urging immediate action, and I considered the subject quite a long time. But there did not seem to me to be any necessity for such haste. The enemy could not accomplish much before morning. It would then be early enough to decide what must be done. Besides, it was not yet certain that Hood was attempting to cross his infantry at Huey's Mill. The vigorous action of his cavalry might be intended only to induce me to fall back, and thus give him the use of the crossing at Columbia, and of the turnpike from that place, for the movement of his infantry, artillery, and trains.

In the morning, November 29, I sent a brigade of infantry toward Huey's Mill to reconnoiter and report the enemy's movements. At the same time Stanley was ordered to Spring Hill, with two divisions of his corps, to occupy and intrench a good position commanding the roads at that place and protecting the trains and reserve artillery which had been ordered to be parked there. Ruger's division of the Twenty-third Corps, except one regiment, was ordered to follow Stanley. The army was ready to occupy Spring Hill in full force, and in ample time to meet any possible movement of the enemy either on that place or, by the Lewisburg pike, on Franklin.

In my orders to Ruger, dated 8 A. M., directing him to move at once to Spring Hill, he was ordered to leave one regiment to guard the river until dark and then join him at Spring Hill. It was then intended, in any event, to hold Spring Hill until the morning of November 30.

1 War Records, Vol. XLV, part i, p. 1143.

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