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‘ [205] slowly, delaying the enemy's progress as much as possible, to gain time for reinforcements to arrive, and concentrate.’ The portion of the Twenty-third corps which had been left at Johnsonville was now brought rapidly up to Schofield; and as all possibility of Hood's forces following Sherman was at an end, the garrisons along the Memphis and Chattanooga railroad were called in; but according to Thomas's invariable policy of guarding every possible point, these troops, instead of being sent to Schofield, were moved to Stevenson and Murfreesboroa, still further away from the enemy. On the night of the 23rd, Schofield evacuated Pulaski, and on the 24th, he reported himself in position at Columbia. This town is on the south bank of the Duck river, which here runs from west to east, and is at the crossing of the direct road to Nashville, distant only sixty miles. About half way between Columbia and Nashville, is Franklin.

On the 24th of November, Grant returned to City Point from the North, and at four P. M. that day, he telegraphed to Thomas: ‘Do not let Forrest get off without punishment.’ Thomas replied at length, detailing his difficulties, but concluded: ‘The moment I can get my cavalry, I will march against Hood. If Forrest can be found, he will be punished.’1 On the 25th, Grant telegraphed to


Yours of 4 P. M. yesterday just received. Hood's entire army is in front of Columbia, and so greatly outnumbers mine that I am compelled to act on the defensive. None of General Smith's corps have arrived yet, although embarked on Tuesday last. The transportation of Hatch and Grierson's cavalry was ordered by Washburne, I am told, to be turned in at Memphis, which has crippled the only cavalry I have at this time. All of my cavalry were dismounted to furnish horses to Kilpatrick's division, which went with General Sherman. My dismounted cavalry is now detained in Louisville, awaiting arms and horses. Horses arrive slowly; arms have been detained somewhere en route for more than a month. General Grierson has been delayed by conflicting orders in Kansas, and from Memphis. It is impossible to say when he will reach here.

Since being placed in charge of affairs on Tennessee, I have lost nearly 15,000 men, discharged by expiration of service, and permitted to go North: my gain probably 12,000 perfectly raw troops; therefore as the enemy so greatly outnumbers me in both infantry and cavalry, I am compelled for the present to act on the defensive. The moment I can get my cavalry, I will march against Hood. If Forrest can be found, he will be punished.

Thomas to Grant, November 25.

When Thomas says in this despatch ‘all my cavalry was dismounted,’ etc., he must be understood as meaning all the cavalry of the original army of the Cumberland, for on this date he had a cavalry force equipped for duty, of 5,500 men. See his return of November 20.

Wilson distinctly states in his report: ‘All the serviceable horses of McCook's and Garrard's divisions and Colonel Garrard's brigade were turned over to the Third [Kilpatrick's] division, and every effort was made to put it upon a thoroughly efficient footing; while the dismounted men of the First and Second divisions were ordered by rail to Louisville, Kentucky, for removal and equipment.’ These were the only troops dismounted for Sherman.

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