This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 On the 25th the battalion arrived at the Tennessee river, and early the next morning crossed on the pontoon bridge, which had been thrown across the day and night previous. The river was very much swoollen, the current strong and fierce. The cable rope to which the pontoons were attached was very much curved by the strong current, but the ends of the rope were securely fastened and the boats kept in position until the army crossed. For several days, wagons, artillery and troops poured in a stream across this bridge, intermingled almost in a solid mass, and the exit kept clear in order that no time might be lost in the transit. This part of the retreat was admirably managed, and much credit was due the engineers who had it in charge. Two batteries of Johnston's battalion, with several others, were planted on the river bank below the bridge, to prevent the enemy's gunboats from coming up while the army was crossing. They were poorly protected, and suffered considerably from the unequal contest, though they maintained their position. The ordnance train, temporarily under the command of Lieutenant Ritter, arrived at Tuscumbia, Ala., on the evening of the 26th, where it remained three days, waiting for the remainder of the battalion. During this time Lieutenant J. W. Doncaster was in command of the battery. Hood's losses from the 20th of November to the 20th of December, in killed, wounded and prisoners, amounted to 13,303 men, which, deducted from 25,538, who crossed the Tennessee river in November, only 12,235 were left to return in December. Thus it will be seen that he lost over half his men, and in arms and munitions about in the same proportion. Had Thomas possessed the ability of a great commander, he would have captured Hood's whole army, as he out numbered him almost four to one. At the battle of Nashville he commanded a force of 55,000 men against 16,697 under Hood. Hood certainly deserves the credit of saving the remnant of his command against such odds, but he ought to have withdrawn after the battle of Franklin. The loss of 5,550 men in that engagement rendered him powerless to prosecute successfully the campaign any farther. He certainly was aware that the Federals were massing troops at Nashville, therefore it was only a question of time when he would be driven back, and then at a disadvantage. It is sad to think of the brave men, who crossed into Tennessee, there to find a soldier's grave, or be maimed for life, especially when
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.