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[292] the day's operations, though in time to take part in the final engagement in repelling the enemy's attempt to regain lost ground. When it is remembered that General Thomas was at the rear of our right, where all this could be distinctly seen, no comment seems to be necessary on this feature of his report.

In respect to the statement in my report that I had in the night of December 15 ‘waited upon the commanding general and received his orders for the pursuit,’ that was simply a fact without which there was possible no rational explanation of what occurred, or did not occur, the next day. I must have taken it for granted that General Thomas would make some frank and candid explanation of all those matters in his own report, and I could not have imagined that I might incur his displeasure by telling the simple truth. My opinion of his character forbade the possibility of any supposition that he would desire to conceal anything, even if concealment were possible, of facts to which there were so many witnesses. Hence my astonishment at the discovery of so much that I cannot even attempt to explain.

It was publicly stated, soon after the death of General Thomas, that his mortal stroke occurred when he was trying to write something in regard to the use made of the Twenty-third Corps in the battle of Nashville. If he then saw, as it would seem he must have done, the wrong into which he had been betrayed, his sudden death is fully accounted for to the minds of all who knew his true and honest and sensitive nature. He had been betrayed by some malign influence into an outrage upon his own great reputation which it was not possible to explain away, while the slight wrong he had done to me, even if he had intended it, had already proved utterly harmless. His own great record could not possibly suffer from any discussion of the facts, unless those facts themselves proved damaging to him; and he had been too much accustomed

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