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[211] to Nashville. At an early hour on the 30th, the advance of A. J. Smith's command arrived, at last. Thomas's combined infantry force was now more than equal to that of the enemy.

But Franklin was twenty-five miles from Nashville, and Hood had not yet abandoned the hope of striking Schofield before he could be reinforced. The rebel army followed close on the national rearguard. Schofield, nevertheless, at first hoped to cross the Harpeth, at Franklin, before Hood's columns could come up in sufficient force to attack him. The river at this point runs from east to west, and leaving two brigades to retard the rebel advance, Schofield moved one division to the north bank, to cover the flanks, should the enemy attempt to cross above or below the town. His principal forces, however, remained on the southern side, with both flanks resting on the river. But Hood brought up and deployed two corps with astonishing rapidity, and moved at once to the attack. The national outposts, imprudently brave, held their ground too long, and hence were compelled to fall back at a run. In passing over the parapet, they carried with them the troops of the main line for a short space, and thus permitted several hundred of the enemy to follow; but the reserves on the right and left instantly sprang forward, and after a furious battle, regained the parapet, and captured every rebel who had passed. The enemy afterwards assaulted persistently and continuously with his whole force, from half-past 3 until dark; and afterwards made numerous intermittent attacks until nearly ten o'clock; but was steadily repulsed at every point on the line, which was two miles long.

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