14, his published orders and his battle of December 15 would have been in complete harmony.
There would not, so far as I know, have been even a ‘few alterations.’
In this connection, the difference between the ‘Special Field Order No. 342
,’ of December 14, as recorded in General Thomas
's order-book, and the copy embodied in his official report, as explained in a foot-note in the War Records
, is not unimportant.1
In the order-book he says: ‘Major-General Schofield will mass
the remainder of his force in front of the works and cooperate with General Wood
, protecting the latter's left flank against an attack by the enemy’; but in his report the words ‘will move with’
are substituted for ‘will mass.’
The latter, in military parlance, meant placing my corps in reserve, with a view to ‘cooperate with General Wood
,’ etc., whenever such cooperation might be necessary; while the words used in Thomas
's final report meant active cooperation with General Wood
from the beginning of the engagement.
In the body of his report General Thomas
spoke of the position of the Twenty-third Corps as ‘in reserve,’ from which position it was ordered to the right to join A. J. Smith
's troops in the attack.
Hence it would seem that a position ‘in reserve’ was what General Thomas
had in mind both when he prepared his order of battle and when he wrote his report, and that the change to the words ‘will move with’ was simply a clerical error.
After darkness had ended the first day's battle (December 15), I received an order in writing from General Thomas
, which was in substance to pursue the retreating enemy
early the next morning, my corps to take the advance on the Granny White pike
, and was informed that the cavalry had been or would be ordered to start at the same time by a road to the right, and cross the Harpeth
These orders seemed to be so utterly inapplicable to the actual situation that I