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‘ [266] sacrifice must be spared to obtain so important a result.’

Thomas was evidently hurt by the persistent goading, and replied to Halleck at length, and with spirit: ‘Your despatch of 12 A. M. this day is received. General Hood is being pursued as rapidly and as vigorously as it is possible for one army to pursue another. We cannot control the elements, and you must remember that, to resist Hood's advance into Tennessee, I had to reorganize and almost thoroughly equip the force under my command. I fought the battles of the 15th and 16th insts with the troops but partially equipped, and, notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather and the partial equipment, have been enabled to drive the enemy beyond Duck river, crossing two streams with my troops, and driving the enemy from position to position, without the aid of pontoons, and with but little transportation to bring up supplies of provisions and ammunition. I am doing all in my power to crush Hood's army, and if it be possible, will destroy it. But pursuing an enemy through an exhausted country, over mud roads completely sogged with heavy rains, is no child's play, and cannot be accomplished as quickly as thought of. I hope, in urging me to push the enemy, the Department remembers that General Sherman took with him the complete organization of the Military Division of the Mississippi, well supplied in every respect, as regards ammunition, supplies, and transportation, leaving me only two corps, partially stripped of their transportation, to accommodate the force taken with him, to oppose the advance into Tennessee of that army which had resisted the advance of the army of the ’

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