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[283] 1, 1864, including the battle of Franklin, on which General Thomas placed his indorsement commending my ‘skill,’ no mention whatever was made of any orders or instructions from General Thomas. The simple fact was that I could not have quoted the orders and instructions General Thomas had given me for my guidance during those operations without implied criticism of General Thomas; hence it was then thought best to omit any reference to any such orders or instructions, and to limit the report to a simple recital of the facts, thus making the report strictly truthful so far as concerned my own action and that of the troops under my command, without any reference whatever to my superior at Nashville, under whose orders I was supposed to be acting; and that report of December 7 appeared to be entirely satisfactory to General Thomas in that respect as well as in all others. But when the time came to make my final report of the entire campaign, which must go upon the public records as my full and exact contribution to the history of military operations in which I had taken an important part, truth and justice to all required me to make the record complete so far as lay in my power; and if there was anything in the record, as submitted by me to General Thomas, to which he took exception, it was as plainly his duty to truth and justice to place those exceptions also on the public records. So far from suggesting in my final report any possible criticism of General Thomas, I put the best possible construction upon all the despatches I had received from him, by accepting them together as showing me that his object was ‘to hold the enemy in check’ until he (Thomas) could concentrate his reinforcements, and not to fight Hood at Pulaski, as he (Thomas) had at first ordered. I simply submitted to him the plain record, with the best possible construction I could put upon it, and that only so far as it was necessary for me to construe it to give the general basis of my action. If

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