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[287] front, could have justified me in case of failure. The actual commander of an army in the field must act upon his own judgment and responsibility, though with due deference to the plans and wishes of his superior, so far as they are made known to him, having in view the general object of a campaign. This sound military principle appears to have been fully recognized by General Thomas when he made his report. He only claimed that his ‘plans and wishes were fully explained’ and ‘properly appreciated and executed,’ not that he had given any specific orders or instructions. Why, then, did he assert, in contradiction of my statement previously made to him, and in contradiction of the official record I had submitted to him with that statement in my report, that those ‘plans and wishes’ of his had been ‘fully explained’ to me before instead of after I went to Pulaski? What possible difference could it have made to General Thomas, personally or officially, whether the record showed that his plans and wishes were made known to me before or after I assumed command, provided they were received by me in due time for my action? What possible motive could General Thomas have had in putting on the public records what was in substance a flat contradiction of an official statement I had made to him with full documentary evidence to support it, and that in the absence of any possible ground for his own contradictory statement, except his own recollection of some conversation we may have had more than two months before, in which he might have explained to me his ‘plans and wishes’? I cannot believe that General Thomas ever consciously did any such thing. That feature of the report must have had some other author besides George H. Thomas. It is true that the orders telegraphed to me by General Thomas, November 19, ‘to fight him [Hood] at Pulaski, if he advances against that place,’ were inconsistent with the statement in his report that he had fully explained

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