met General Thomas
, on my way to Johnsonville
, he expected A. J. Smith
to arrive from Missouri
very soon, when he intended to concentrate all his available troops at Columbia
, take command in person, and move against Hood
; and that he considered his orders of November 8 to Stanley
, to fight Hood
, as Hood
might elect, until he (Thomas
) could get there with reinforcements, all the orders that could be necessary, even if Hood
did get a little the start of him. The records seem to show, still further, that even after Hood
's plans of aggression had developed so long in advance of Thomas
's preparations to meet him, Thomas
did not then see the great danger that might result from obedience to his orders of November 8 to Stanley
, and even went so far as to repeat those orders to me on the 19th; but that he promptly corrected that mistake when I pointed it out to him, and then authorized me to act upon my own judgment.
Now, at this late day, when I am so much older than General Thomas
was at the time of these events, I feel at liberty to discuss them without reserve.
I am not criticizing the acts of my official superior.
In my mature judgment, General Thomas
was not justifiable, in 1864– 1865, in claiming the credit for what had been done by his inferior in rank in actual command of the army in the field while General Thomas
himself was absent.
So, in respect to the battle of Nashville
, it would have been utterly impossible to have given any rational explanation of the action of my troops on December 15 under the published orders for that battle.
Hence I alluded, as lightly as possible, to the modification in those orders which accounted for what I had done, but gave no hint of the fact that I had suggested that modification.
I cannot now recollect whether I had any expectation at that time in respect to what General Thomas
would say on that subject in his report; but, in my opinion,