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‘ [204] to Macon, and scouts . . report Fourteenth corps crossed Chattahoochee to join Sherman, giving him four corps. This information has been communicated to General Hood. It is left optional with him to divide, and reinforce Cobb [in Central Georgia], or take the offensive immediately, to relieve him.’ Hood chose the latter course, and Grant declared: This ‘seemed to me to be leading to his certain doom. . . Had I had the power to command both armies, I should not have changed the orders under which he seemed to be acting.’

On the 21st of November, the rebel columns were in motion from the Tennessee, marching by the roads west of Pulaski, near which point Schofield was encamped. Hood evidently hoped to interpose his army between the national forces and Nashville; but Thomas divined his purpose, and at once directed Schofield to fall back from Pulaski, and concentrate in the vicinity of Columbia, so as to reach that place before the enemy. ‘Hood's force,’ he said to Grant, ‘is so much larger than my present available force, either in infantry or cavalry, that I shall have to act on the defensive.’1 His only resource, he declared, was to ‘retire ’

1 ‘. . General Stanley's corps being only 12,000 effective, and General Schofield's 10,000 effective. As yet General Wilson can raise only about 3,000 effective cavalry. Grierson's division [of cavalry] is still in Missouri, and the balance of the cavalry belonging to the army of the Cumberland, not having yet received their horses and equipments, at Louisville. I have a force of about 4,000 men at Decatur and on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, which might be made available, if Decatur and that road were abandoned, but as General Sherman is very anxious to have Decatur held if possible, I have kept the force there up to this time. I will, however, if you approve, withdraw and add it to my main force at Columbia, and shall then be, on the arrival of General A. J. Smith with his force, as strong in infantry as the enemy; but his cavalry will greatly outnumber mine, until I can get General Wilson's force back from Louisville.’—Thomas to Halleck, November 21.

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Hood (4)
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