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[268] that he was ready. As to the willingness of both Thomas and his army to make every sacrifice and every effort, that had been displayed on many fields, but never more conspicuously than in this campaign. Nothing was at fault but the disposition for elaborate preparation which, at all times, and under all circumstances, was so marked a feature of Thomas's character.

Grant had not stinted his acknowledgments of the brilliant success which had already been attained, but he was most anxious to secure the greatest possible result, and when this dispatch was received, he telegraphed at once to Thomas: ‘You have the congratulations of the public for the energy with which you are pushing Hood. I hope you will succeed in reaching his pontoon bridge at Tuscumbia, before he gets there. Should you do so, it looks to me that Hood is cut off. If you succeed in destroying Hood's army, there will be but one army left to the so-called Confederacy, capable of doing us any harm. I will take care of this, and try to draw the sting from it, so that in the spring we shall have easy sailing. You have now a big opportunity, which I know you are availing yourself of. Let us push and do all we can, before the enemy can derive benefit, either from the raising of negro troops on the plantations, or the concentration of white troops now in the field.’

On the 23rd, he said to Stanton: ‘I think it would be appropriate now to confer on General Thomas the vacant major-generalcy in the regular army. He seems to be pushing Hood with energy, and I doubt not he will completely destroy that army.’ The appointment was made the next day.

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