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[268]

In the report of General A. J. Smith, dated January 10, 1865, occurs the following: ‘About 3 P. M. (December 16) General McArthur sent word that he could carry the hill on his right by assault. Major-General Thomas being present, the matter was referred to him, and I was requested to delay the movement until he could hear from General Schofield, to whom he had sent. . . . General McArthur, not receiving any reply, and fearing that if the attack should be longer delayed the enemy would use the night to strengthen his works, directed the first brigade (Colonel W. L. McMillen, 95th Ohio Infantry, commanding) to storm the hill on which was the left of the enemy's line,’ etc. This statement, which appears to be nowhere dissented from, seems to show very nearly the hour of the day—not very long after 3 P. A.—when was initiated by General McArthur the general attack which resulted in the brilliant and final success of the day; that this initial movement was not made in pursuance of any orders or directions from General Thomas, but, on the contrary, during a period in which General Thomas had requested General Smith to ‘delay the movement.’

General Wilson's report, dated December 21, says: ‘About 4:30 P. M. the enemy, pressed in front, flank, and rear, broke in disorder. Croxton's brigade, which had been held in reserve on the Hillsboroa pike, as soon as the success of these dispositions had become apparent was ordered to march rapidly across the country to the Granny White pike, and beyond the right flank of Hammond's brigade; but owing to the lateness of the hour and heaviness of the road over which he was compelled to move, he secured but few prisoners.’ This report also seems to be silent in respect to any order from General Thomas.

There was another good reason why the cavalry secured but few prisoners at that time: there were very few left to secure behind that part of the line, the infantry having captured nearly all of them.

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George H. Thomas (4)
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