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‘ [239] as if all war was anything but hazardous. If he waits for Wilson to get ready, Gabriel will be blowing his last horn.’ Grant replied at 1.30 P. M.: ‘You probably saw my order to Thomas to attack. If he does not do so promptly, I would recommend suspending him by Schofield, leaving Thomas subordinate.’ Only those who were with him at the time, and in his confidence, could know the pain it gave to Grant to write these words. He was fond of Thomas, personally. He remembered his worth, his services, his patriotism, as well as the devotion of the Western army to its chief. He knew also the extreme risk in changing commanders at such a crisis. As Lincoln said, with homely force, on another occasion, it was like ‘swopping horses while crossing a stream.’ But he felt that unless an advance was promptly made in Tennessee, the peril to the entire West was instant and inevitable; and if Thomas refused any longer to obey, there was no option but to put a general in his place who would carry out his orders; and painful though the necessity was, Grant gave the word.

Nothing, however, was done by the government, and nothing was heard from Thomas till nine o'clock on the night of the 7th, when he telegraphed to Halleck: ‘Captain Fitch, United States navy, started down the river yesterday with a convoy of transports, but was unable to get them down; the enemy having planted three batteries on a bend of the river, between this and Clarksville. Captain Fitch was unable to silence all three of the batteries yesterday, and will return again to-morrow morning, with the assistance of the [gunboat] Cincinnati, now at Clarksville; and ’

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