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[188] orders of Grant and Sherman, he persisted in maintaining garrisons at numerous places which they had directed him to abandon, and his army was numerically smaller than either of them supposed or intended. Granger was at this time at Decatur with five thousand men, Rousseau at Murfreesboroa with five thousand more, and Steedman at Chattanooga with five thousand, though not a company of rebels was under arms within a hundred miles of either position; for the entire strength of the Confederacy between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies was concentrated in front of Schofield. On the 20th of November, there were reported ‘present, equipped for duty,’ in Thomas's command, fifty-nine thousand five hundred men. Of these, twenty-five thousand were scattered in garrisons away from the actual front. Hood's effective force at the same time was thirty thousand six hundred infantry, and, as near as can be ascertained, seven thousand cavalry.1

1 General Thomas says in his ‘Official Report:’ ‘My information from all sources confirmed the reported strength of Hood's army to be from 40,000 to 45,000 infantry, and from 12,000 to 15,000 cavalry.’ This, however, was a very large over-estimate. Hood's returns show his effective total, on the 6th of November, to have been 30,600, not including Forrest's cavalry. There is no actual return of Forrest's command in existence later than that of July 30, 1864, when he reported his effective total as 5,357. He states, in his report dated Jan. 24, 1865: ‘On my arrival at Florence [Nov. 17], I was placed in command of the entire cavalry then with our army of Tennessee, consisting of Brigadier-General Jackson's division and a portion of Debrell's brigade, under command of Colonel Biffle, amounting to about 2,000 men, together with three brigades of my former command, making in all about 5,000 cavalry.’

On the 10th of November, General Richard Taylor returned his effective force at 15,024, and on the 20th, 10,422: in his column of remarks of the latter date appears this note: ‘Forrest's command transferred to army of Tennessee.’ This would make Forrest's numbers 4,602, in addition to the 2,000 he says he found in the army of the Tennessee. Even allowing for the depreciation of a beaten commander, his force can hardly have been more than 7,000 strong. Schofield and Wilson, however, both estimated it at 10,000.

The rule I have adopted, in determining the numbers of armies, is to accept the official returns as conclusive, whenever they are in existence; not the reports after a battle or a campaign, when figures on both sides are often only estimates, but the field returns, made by commanders to their military superiors, so far as possible, without reference to any particular engagement. If this rule is applied to both sides, I know of none fairer.

I have made careful examination of the rebel records, and there is nothing in any despatch, report, or return, to show that Hood received the reinforcement of a man, after he left the Tennessee; or that any troops were included in his command, besides those on the above return, and Forrest's cavalry. See Appendix for Returns of Thomas and Hood, during October, November, and December, 1864.

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