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Grant had anticipated this danger, and was now intensely anxious in regard to the situation. On the 5th, he telegraphed: ‘Is there not danger of Forrest moving down the Cumberland to where he can cross it? It seems to me, whilst you should be getting up your cavalry as rapidly as possible to look after Forrest, Hood should be attacked where he is. Time strengthens him in all probability as much as it does you.’ In this surmise he was entirely right, for Hood, at this very juncture, reported to his superiors: ‘Our line is strongly entrenched, and all the available positions upon our flanks and in rear of them are now being fortified with strong self-supporting detached works, so that they may be easily defended, should the enemy move out upon us. The enemy,’ he continued, ‘still have some six thousand troops strongly entrenched at Murfreesboroa. This force is entirely isolated, and I now have the largest part of the cavalry under Forrest, with two brigades of infantry in observation of these forces, and to prevent their foraging in the country. Should this force attempt to leave Murfreesboroa, or should the enemy attempt to reinforce it, I hope to be able to defeat them.’

On the night of the 5th, Thomas telegraphed: ‘If I can perfect my arrangements, I shall move against the advanced portion of the enemy on the 7th;’ but on the 6th, he suspended the movement again. At eight P. M. that night, he telegraphed to Grant: ‘Your telegram of 6.30 P. M., December 5, just received. As soon as I can get up a respectable force of cavalry, I will march against Hood. General Wilson has parties now out pressing horses, ’

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