Wilson is here, and has his cavalry on my flank.
I do not know where Forrest is. He may have gone east, but, no doubt, will strike our flank and rear again soon.
Wilson is entirely unable to cope with him. Of course I cannot prevent Hood from crossing the Harpeth whenever he may attempt it. Do you desire me to hold on here until compelled to fall back?
And at 11 A. M. I telegraphed: ‘Troops and trains in all right.’
At noon I answered as follows General Thomas
's last despatch:
Your despatch of 10:25 A. M. is received.
I am satisfied that I have heretofore run too much risk in trying to hold Hood in check while so far inferior to him in both infantry and cavalry.
The slightest mistake on my part, or failure of a subordinate, during the last three days might have proved disastrous.
I don't want to get into so tight a place again; yet I will cheerfully act in accordance with your views of expediency, if you think it important to hold Hood back as long as possible.
When you get all your troops together, and the cavalry in effective condition, we can easily whip Hood, and, I believe, make the campaign a decisive one.
Before that, the most we can do is to husband our strength and increase it as much as possible.
I fear the troops which were stationed on the river below Columbia will be lost.
I will get my trains out of the way as soon as possible, and watch Hood carefully.
Possibly I may be able to hold him here, but do not expect to be able to do so long.
This despatch shows not only my opinion at that time of the kind of ‘place’ I had been in, but my belief that the character of that situation had been due largely to Thomas
's action in leaving me without the expected reinforcements, and in not providing the means of crossing the Harpeth River
The following seems to show that General Thomas
did not even then see the importance of prompt concentration of all his available force in front of the enemy, but expected me, with two corps, to fight the entire hostile