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On the 24th, Thomas replied to Grant: ‘Your telegram of 22nd is just received. I am now, and shall continue to push Hood as rapidly as the state of the weather and roads will permit. I am really very hopeful that either General Steedman or Admiral Lee will reach the Tennessee in time to destroy Hood's pontoon bridge, in which event I shall certainly be able to capture or destroy almost the entire army now with Hood.’

Steedman, however, had not proceeded further than Decatur, when he learned that the rebels had re-crossed the Tennessee. Admiral Lee also reached and held Florence, but owing to the falling of the water, his gunboats could ascend no higher; and Hood made his crossing at Bainbridge, eight miles above Florence, with Lee and the national fleet on the right, Steedman on the left, and Wilson and Wood in his rear. So liable are the best combinations in war to be intercepted and marred. As if to complete the mockery of events, the rebel pontoon train was captured, after the enemy had crossed. A cavalry force of six hundred men, from Steedman's command, overtook and destroyed it, on the 31st of December, at a distance of two hundred miles from Nashville. This was the last blow of the campaign.

Thomas now directed A. J. Smith to take position at Eastport; Wood was to concentrate his troops at Huntsville and Athens, in Alabama; Schofield was ordered back to Dalton, on the Chattanooga railroad, and Wilson to send one division of cavalry to Eastport, and concentrate the remainder at Huntsville. The different commands were to go into winter quarters, and ‘recuperate, for ’

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