If the plan then decided on and ordered had been carried out, three divisions of infantry and nearly all the artillery of the army would have been in position at Spring Hill
and well intrenched long before the head of Hood
's column, without any artillery, came in sight of that place late in the afternoon.
That position would have been secured beyond doubt until the next morning.
The other two divisions (Cox
's and Wood
's) would have withdrawn from Duck River
and marched to Spring Hill
early in the afternoon, before the enemy could seriously interfere with them.
's one regiment, without impedimenta, was directed to march along the railway track to Spring Hill
, and thus avoid any interference from the enemy.
The army would have marched to Franklin
early in the night of the 29th, instead of after midnight as it actually did. That would have given the enemy the afternoon and night in which to lay his pontoons and cross his artillery and trains at Columbia
But that would not have been a serious matter, in view of the situation as it was understood by me up to about 8 A. M. of the 29th; for the information I had received up to that hour justified the belief that both A. J. Smith
's troops and those concentrated at Murfreesboroa would meet me at Franklin
, or perhaps at Spring Hill
, where we would be able to give battle to the enemy on equal terms.
But in view of the information received by me after eight o'clock that morning, and the altered plan decided on soon after ten o'clock, the situation became very materially different.
Under this plan the army must be ready to encounter a formidable enemy either in the position then occupied on Duck River
, or at some point on the road between that place and Spring Hill
Hence I determined to keep the main body of the troops together, and trust to Stanley
's one division to hold Spring Hill
until the army should reach that point.
That is to