a compact body of troops, larger than my entire army, between my detachments.
If that had occurred before my reinforcements arrived, I would have been caught in the worst possible condition.
Hence, in the absence of certain information in respect to when reinforcements would arrive, and their aggregate strength, a division of my force was inadmissible.
An inferior force should generally be kept in one compact body, while a superior force may often be divided to great advantage.
I now direct attention to the correspondence between General Thomas
and myself, on November 30, before the battle of Franklin
, showing that he was not ready for battle at Nashville
, and his desire that I should, if possible, hold Hood
back three days longer; and showing that my estimate of the importance of time when I was at Columbia
was by no means exaggerated; also showing General Thomas
's views and mine of the military situation before the battle, and the action then determined on and ordered and partially executed by the movement of trains toward Nashville
before the battle opened.
The results of the battle were not such, even if they had been fully known at the time, as to have rendered admissible any change in those orders.
The next despatch from General Thomas
was at 10:25 A. M. By that time he had received two more despatches