It is also true that Sherman
claimed the credit for the breaking up of Hood
's army in Tennessee
, while he was marching to Savannah
, as a legitimate and foreseen part of his general plan, like his successful march and capture of Savannah
But he appeared not to see that in such a claim he was condemning himself for not having done with a superior force what Thomas
actually did with a smaller one.
That result was, in fact, due largely to an accident which, in the ordinary course of military operations, ought not to have happened, and by which Hood
was tempted to make at Franklin
one of those furious assaults upon troops in position and ready to receive him which are almost always disastrous.
It was just the kind of temptation to Hood
's army that was necessary ‘to break it up,’ and it did so very effectually.
The old ‘Army of Tennessee,’ which had been so formidable, ceased to be a formidable army on November 30.
Its fighting days were nearly over.
After that it never did any fighting at all worthy of its old record.
And there was hardly a single day while Hood
was in command in the Atlanta campaign
when a similar result might not have been reached by a similar method, and that without any risk of disaster to the Union
army, because the force assaulted by Hood
might always have had a more powerful army near at hand to support it if necessary.
In his special field order of January 8, 1865, announcing to all the troops of his military division the results of his great campaign, General Sherman
said: ‘Generals Thomas
, commanding the departments to our rear, returned to their posts and prepared to decoy General Hood
into their meshes.’
If the purpose that prompted Sherman
to send me back to Tennessee
was to serve as a ‘decoy’ to Hood
, I must say that my part of the sport would have been more enjoyable if it had taken place earlier in the season, when