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[263] originally formed part of the records have disappeared therefrom. Their influence upon historical opinion, if ever recovered, may now only be suggested.

It must be observed as a very notable fact that the official records, replete with orders and instructions issued every day, and almost every hour, contain no record whatever of any written order or instructions from General Thomas, given after the close of operations on December 15, for the operations which actually took place the next day. The only indications in the records, so far as I have been able to discover, that any orders were given by General Thomas, either orally or in writing, on the night of December 15, are the following ‘orders of the day’ for the Fourth Army Corps, issued by General Wood after a personal interview with General Thomas that night; the order in writing from General Thomas to General Wilson, December 15; and the despatch from General Wilson to myself, dated December 16, 10:10 A. M. They are as follow:

headquarters Fourth Army Corps, near Nashville, Tenn., December 15, 1864, 11:20 P. M.
Orders of the day for the Fourth Army Corps for to-morrow, December 16, 1864:

If the enemy is in their front at daylight to-morrow morning, division commanders will advance at that time, attack, and carry whatever may be before them. If the enemy retreats tonight, we will follow them. General Elliott, commanding Second Division, will cross to the east of the Franklin pike, then move southward parallel to it. He will deploy two regiments, connect with skirmishers, and the rest of his division will move by flank. General Kimball will follow, then General Beatty. The batteries attached to each division to-day will accompany them to-morrow. Ten ambulances and five ammunition-wagons will follow each division.

By order of Brigadier-General Wood:

J. S. Fullerton, Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

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