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[258]

Chapter XIV

  • Hood's motive in attempting the impossible at Nashville
  • -- diversity of opinions concerning that battle -- no orders on record for the battle of December 16 -- that battle due to the spontaneous action of subordinate commanders -- statements in the reports of the Corps commanders -- explanation of the absence of orders -- the Phraseology of General Thomas's report.


the official records, Hood's statement, and Sherman's estimate, made at the time, agree pretty closely in placing Hood's infantry force at about 30,000 men when he crossed the Tennessee and began his advance toward Nashville. He lost a considerable number at Spring Hill on November 29, and over 6000, besides thirteen general officers, at Franklin on November 30. Therefore 24,000 must be a liberal estimate of his infantry strength after the battle of Franklin. The infantry strength of the Fourth and Twenty-third corps did not exceed 22,000 present for duty equipped, of which one brigade (Cooper's) of the Twenty-third was sent by General Thomas to guard the fords of Duck River below Columbia, and did not rejoin the corps until after the battle of Franklin. Hence Hood's infantry force at Columbia and Franklin was nearly one half greater than mine. The disparity in cavalry was still greater at first, but was reduced very considerably by the arrival of cavalry sent from Nashville by General Thomas, especially Hammond's brigade, which arrived in the field on the 29th, too late to assist in holding the line of Duck River.

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