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[223] force until he could complete his concentration at Nashville. Even before the battle of Franklin he seems to have thought he could take his time to concentrate, reorganize his cavalry, and then ‘try Hood again.’

General Smith reported to me this morning that one division of his troops is still behind; we must therefore try to hold Hood where he now is until those troops can get up, and the steamers return. After that we will concentrate here, reorganize our cavalry, and try Hood again. Do you think you can hold Hood at Franklin for three days longer? Answer, giving your views; and I should like to know what Wilson thinks he can do to aid you in holding Hood.

Geo. H. Thomas, Major-General U. S. Vols., Commanding.

Thereupon, in the following telegram, dated 3 P. M., I proposed Brentwood as a point where A. J. Smith's and all the other troops could surely unite with mine:

I have just received your despatch asking whether I can hold Hood here three days. I do not believe I can. I can doubtless hold him one day, but will hazard something in doing that. He now has a large force, probably two corps, in my front, and seems preparing to cross the river above and below. I think he can effect a crossing to-morrow in spite of all my efforts, and probably to-night, if he attempts it. A worse position than this for an inferior force could hardly be found. I will refer your question to General Wilson this evening. I think he can do very little. I have no doubt Forrest will be in my rear to-morrow, or doing some greater mischief. It appears to me that I ought to take position at Brentwood at once. If A. J. Smith's division and the Murfreesboroa garrison join me there, I ought to be able to hold Hood in check for some time. I have just learned that the enemy's cavalry is already crossing three miles above. I will have lively times with my trains again.

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