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‘ [218] many delays which have enabled Hood to take advantage of my crippled condition. I earnestly hope, however, that in a few days more I shall be able to give him a fight.’

Grant was unconvinced by this reasoning, for he believed that Hood's obstacles and disadvantages were equal to those of Thomas, and that one gained as much as the other, by delay. For a day or two, however, he refrained from further urging his subordinate, but on the 3rd, he said to Sherman, with whom he was attempting to communicate: ‘Thomas has got back into the defences of Nashville, with Hood close upon him. Decatur has been abandoned, and so have all the roads, except the main one leading to Chattanooga. Part of the falling back was undoubtedly necessary, and all of it may have been. It did not look so, however, to me. In my opinion Thomas far outnumbers Hood in infantry. In cavalry Hood has the advantage in morale and numbers. I hope yet Hood will be badly crippled, if not destroyed.’

Grant was entirely right in his estimate of the relative numbers of the opposing armies. Sherman had left sufficient men behind for every emergency, and it was only Thomas's policy of scattering his forces and defending every assailable point, which had left so small an army for Schofield at Pulaski and Franklin, and made the first falling back inevitable. Steedman might have been recalled on the day that Hood advanced from the Tennessee, and even Stoneman would have been better occupied resisting, the principal rebel army at the West, than in following Breckenridge's three thousand men with double their number in East Tennessee. Thomas

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