In both armies also there was lack of food, for the supply trains were impeded by the wretched condition of the roads.
The horses had to be pushed up to their knees and often to their bellies through slush and mud; while the men marched slowly, with sleet and snow beating on their heads and shoulders, and sometimes waded waist-deep in the ice-cold streams.
The flying troops, besides, were often shoeless.
The rebel army of Tennessee had become a disheartened and disorganized rabble of halfarmed and half-clad men; the principal part of Hood
's ordnance had already been abandoned, and at Pulaski
, where the roads became altogether impracticable for wheels, a further quantity of ammunition was destroyed.
The country was strewn with abandoned wagons, limbers, blankets, and smallarms, from Nashville
to the Tennessee river
Nevertheless, the rebel rear-guard was undaunted and firm, and did its work to the last.
It frequently delayed the advance of the national cavalry, and never allowed Wilson
again to strike the main command.
Twice, in narrow gorges, Forrest
made a stand, where a few hundred men were able to obstruct a division, and under cover of this resistance, the fugitive army moved off. He was once even able to capture a gun from his pursuers, which was not regained.
moved by the most direct roads to Bainbridge
, on the Tennessee river
's corps kept well closed up with the cavalry, but Smith
followed no further than Pulaski
, and Schofield
remained at Columbia
On the 27th of December, the whole rebel army, including the rearguard, crossed the Tennessee river
, and on the 28th, Thomas
directed further pursuit to cease.