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[192] troops at this critical moment, both on the right and left. Schofield had first been sent with an entire corps to Johnsonville, and afterwards ordered to leave a portion of his command in that neighborhood; while Breckenridge attracted a large force to Knoxville, in East Tennessee, at the moment when every man, at every hazard, should have been concentrated in front of Hood. For, if the principal rebel army of the West was destroyed, not only Johnsonville and Morristown, but both East and West Tennessee, could easily be regained.

On the 12th of November, Sherman severed communication with the forces on the Tennessee, and from this time Thomas received his orders direct from Grant. He was now in command of all the national troops between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies. To him, from this moment, was committed the defence, not only of Tennessee, but of all the territory acquired in the Atlanta, or even in the Chattanooga, campaign. The same army, depleted it is true, but still the same command that had confronted Sherman so long and so valiantly, now stood before Thomas, and threatened all at the West, that, in a year of battle, either Grant or Sherman had gained. After wandering hundreds of miles, Hood had at last found a base, and railroad communication was uninterrupted in his rear, from Corinth to Selma and Mobile. The troops beyond the Mississippi had been ordered to reinforce him, and the only successful leader of rebel cavalry during the later years of the war, had been placed under his command. Not only did Hood outnumber Schofield, but Sherman, with the pick and flower of his army, men, horses, pontoons even,—

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