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[261] place while his adversary, with all the great resources of the country at his back, got ready to crush him.

As stated in his report, Thomas estimated Hood's strength as being at least equal to his own, and with all the deliberation of his nature, he insisted upon making the full preparations which he considered essential to success not only in battle, but in pursuit of a defeated enemy. From his point of view, Thomas was unquestionably right in his action. How he came to make so great an overestimate of the Confederate strength, in view of the means of information in his possession and the estimate General Sherman had given him before he started for Savannah, it is difficult to conjecture. But the fact is now beyond question that Thomas made all those elaborate preparations to attack an enemy of less than half his own strength, under the belief that his adversary was at least equal in strength to himself. That Hood then knew his own exact strength is a matter of course, and that he did not underestimate the strength of his adversary is almost equally certain. During the two weeks in which his army lay in front of Nashville, if not before, he must have ascertained very closely the strength of the Union forces in his front. Hence Hood's ‘siege’ of Nashville for two weeks could not be regarded otherwise than as a stupendous farce, were it not for the desperate bravery with which he thus kept up the appearance of still fighting for a lost cause rather than be the first to admit by his own action that it was indeed lost. It is now well known that the feeling among the Southern people and that of some of the highest officers of the Confederate government made it impossible for any officer of their army to admit in any public way the failure of the Confederacy until after the enforced surrender of Lee's army in Virginia. Indeed, it required much moral courage on the part of General

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