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‘ [242] A terrible storm of freezing rain has come on since daylight, which will render an attack impossible, till it breaks.’

Meanwhile, at eight P. M. of the 8th, Van Duzer, the telegraph operator at Nashville,1 reported: ‘No change in position since last report. Enemy still in force in front, as was found out by reconnoissance, and large artillery force on south bank of the Cumberland, between here and shoals. One of our gunboats came to grief in the exchange of iron at Bell's Ferry. Rebel General Ewell holds same bank, below Harpeth's to Fort Donelson, but don't fight gunboats.’ At 9.30 P. M. the same night, Thomas himself reported: ‘With every exertion on the part of General Wilson, he will not be able to get his force of cavalry in condition to move before Sunday [December 11th].’

But Grant had directed Thomas to move without regard to Wilson, and on the receipt of these despatches, he telegraphed, on the 9th, to Halleck: ‘Despatch of eight P. M. last evening, from Nashville, shows the enemy scattered for more than seventy miles down the river, and no attack yet made by Thomas. Please telegraph orders relieving him at once, and placing Schofield in command. Thomas should be ordered to turn over all orders and despatches received since the battle of Franklin, to Schofield.’

Before, however, this direction could be obeyed,

1 The operators at the different Headquarters were in the habit of sending telegrams to each other, which sometimes conveyed important information, in addition to that communicated by the commanding officers.

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