on the 2d or 3d of December.
But that state of anxiety was at first unknown at Nashville
, even to General Thomas
, and was never fully appreciated or understood.
No one at Nashville
, so far as I am aware, shared that feeling.
We knew, or thought we knew, that Hood
could do nothing, unless it were to retreat, before we would be prepared to meet him, and that every day's delay strengthened us far more than it possibly could him. His operations, which were closely watched every day, indicated no intention to retreat; hence all at Nashville
awaited with confidence the period of complete preparation which was to give us decisive victory.
The anxiety felt elsewhere, especially by General Grant
, was probably due to some doubt of the wisdom of Sherman
's plan of going off with his main army before disposing of Hood
, contrary to Grant
's first advice; to the discovery of Sherman
's error in supposing he had left Thomas
in complete condition to cope with Hood
; to some misapprehension as to the degree in which the situation in Tennessee
had been changed by the battle of Franklin
; as well as to lack of confidence in General Thomas
on account of his well-known deliberation of thought and action.
Little was known of this state of anxiety by me, or, I believe, by the corps commanders, until December 9, when General Thomas
, calling us together at his headquarters, informed us that he was ordered to attack Hood
at once or surrender his command (not saying to whom), and asked our advice as to what he ought to do. One of the officers present asked General Thomas
to show us the order, which he declined to do. This confirmed the belief which I had at first formed that the successor named by General Grant
could be no other than myself—a belief formed from the fact that I was, next to General Thomas
, the highest officer in rank on the ground where immediate action was demanded, and from my knowledge of