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[284] any official duty remained to be done in that regard, that duty devolved on General Thomas, not on me.

In my final report, dated December 31, 1864, I said, as above indicated, that my instructions from the major-general commanding were embraced in a telegram to General Stanley (dated November 8), in which General Thomas said, ‘Should the enemy overpower them [the cavalry] and march on Pulaski, you must hold that place,’ ‘a copy of which was furnished with the order to assume command at Pulaski, and subsequent despatches, explaining that the object was to hold the enemy in check, should he advance, long enough to enable General A. J. Smith's corps, then expected from Missouri, to reach Nashville, other troops in the Department of the Cumberland to be concentrated, and General Wilson's cavalry to be remounted and fitted for the field. The reinforcements thus expected were about equal to the force we then had in the field, and would make our entire force, when concentrated, equal, or somewhat superior, to that of the enemy. To effect this concentration was therefore of vital importance, a consideration to which all others were secondary. This required that the enemy's advance should be delayed as much as possible, and at the same time a decisive battle avoided, unless it could be fought on favorable terms.’

I refrained from quoting either of the despatches from General Thomas,—that dated November 8 to Stanley, or that dated 19, repeating in substance that of the 8th,—or my reply of November 20 pointing out the reasons why the position at Pulaski was a false one to occupy under the circumstances; and I still think, as I then thought, that that was done as delicately as possible so as to avoid suggesting to General Thomas that I thought his order a blunder. His reply of the same date shows that he so appreciated it. This despatch last referred to from General Thomas, and all the other correspondence after I

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