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[266]

It will also be observed that General Thomas, in his official report of the battle of Nashville, dated January 20, 1865, makes no mention of any orders issued in the night of December 15 or morning of the 16th. He simply says in that regard: ‘The whole command bivouacked in line of battle during the night on the ground occupied at dark, whilst preparations were made to renew the battle at an early hour on the morrow’; but does not say what those preparations were. Then, after describing what had been done in the forenoon of the 16th, he says: ‘As soon as the above dispositions were completed, and having visited the different commands, I gave directions that the movement against the enemy's left flank should be continued’; but no sub-report mentions the receipt of any such directions. The report then proceeds to give a graphic and, I believe, nearly accurate though brief description of what followed.

It may also be observed that in my official report of the battle of Nashville, dated December 31, 1864, the following appears: ‘In the night of the 15th I waited upon the major-general commanding at his headquarters, and received his orders for the pursuit of the enemy on the following day.’ This report was, of course, before General Thomas when he wrote his own, and had necessarily been read by him and doubtless by some of his staff officers; yet no reference was made in his report to the subject referred to in the words above quoted from mine. These facts from the records may perhaps be accepted as sufficient indication of the general purport of whatever orders were issued in the night of the 15th, after the close of that day's operations, and sufficient evidence that no orders of a general character were given by General Thomas, either oral or written, on the 16th until after he had ‘visited the different commands.’

The report of General Steedman, dated January 27, 1865, says: ‘December 16, at 6 A. M., in obedience to the ’

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