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[260] in any of these estimates, because it was ample in quantity and efficient in quality on both sides, and need not be compared. This formidable army was now in Hood's immediate front at Nashville, while the important strategic points of Murfreesboroa and Chattanooga were strongly garrisoned and fortified, and the railroads strongly guarded. It had become too late for Hood even to attempt a raid into Kentucky. Thomas would have been close upon his rear with an army at least twice as strong, with all the important points in Tennessee still securely held. But successful operations against Nashville were far less possible to Hood than an invasion of Kentucky. While no commander could possibly think of destroying his own army by assaulting a fortified place in which the garrison was more than double his own strength, or indulge the hope of any valuable results from a less than half investment of such a place, so bold a commander as Hood might possibly attempt a raid into Kentucky, as the only thing he could possibly do except retreat across the Tennessee River, and thus abandon his cause as lost. It was this view of the situation by General Grant and the authorities in Washington that caused such intense anxiety on account of the delay of General Thomas in attacking Hood at Nashville. It was perfectly evident that Thomas could beat Hood whenever he chose to attack him, and that Hood must be fully aware of that fact. Hence it was naturally apprehended that Hood would either make a raid into Kentucky or else retreat across the Tennessee River without suffering any further damage. To those who were watching Hood closely at Nashville, and especially to those who understood his character, there seemed no ground for either apprehension. All his operations indicated a serious attempt to besiege Nashville, though it was impossible to imagine what he could hope to accomplish, unless it was to wait in the most convenient

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