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
, however, had not proceeded further than Decatur
, when he learned that the rebels had re-crossed the Tennessee
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
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.
now directed A. J. Smith
to take position at Eastport
was to concentrate his troops at Huntsville
and Athens, in Alabama
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 ’