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[269]

My own official report, dated December 31, gave the following account of the operations of December 16, to the accuracy of which no exception was taken by General Thomas. The only order therein mentioned as coming from General Thomas was that received in the night of the 15th, ‘for the pursuit of the enemy on the following day.’

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. Our operations during the 15th had swung the right and right center forward so that the general direction of the line was nearly perpendicular to that before the attack; only the right was in contact with the enemy, and was therefore much exposed. Apprehensive that the enemy, instead of retreating during the night, would mass and attack our right in the morning, I requested that a division of infantry be sent to reinforce the right, which was ordered accordingly from Major-General Smith's command. In response to this order, General Smith sent five regiments and a battery (about 1600 men), which were put in reserve near the right. In the morning it was found that the enemy still held his position in our front, of which the hill in front of General Couch was the key, and had thrown up considerable breastworks during the night. He had also increased the force on his left during the night, and continued to mass troops there during the early part of the day. During the morning, therefore, our operations were limited to preparations for defense and cooperation with the cavalry, which was operating to strike the Granny White pike in rear of the enemy. About noon, the troops on my left (Generals Smith and Wood) having advanced and come in contact with the enemy in his new position, the enemy again withdrew from his left a considerable force to strengthen his right and center, when I ordered General Cox to advance in conjunction with the cavalry, and endeavor to carry a high wooded hill beyond the flank of the enemy's intrenched line, and overlooking the Granny White pike. The hill was occupied by the enemy in considerable force, but was not intrenched. My order was not executed with the promptness or energy which I had expected, yet probably with as much as I had reason to expect, considering the attenuated character

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A. J. Smith (3)
George H. Thomas (2)
T. J. Wood (1)
Jacob D. Cox (1)
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1600 AD (1)
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