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‘ [272] is clear to my mind,’ he said, ‘that after the great loss of life at Franklin, the army was no longer in a condition to make a successful attack on Nashville, a strongly fortified city, defended by an army nearly as strong as our own, and which was being reinforced constantly by river and railroad.’1 This, it has been seen, was the opinion of both Grant and Sherman; and Schofield wrote, on the 27th of December: ‘By uniting my troops to Stanley's, we were able to hold Hood in check at Columbia . . and Franklin, until General Thomas could concentrate at Nashville, and also to give Hood his death-blow at Franklin. Subsequent operations have shown how little fight was then left in his army, and have taken that little out of it.’

After this, Hood seemed to lose all his skill, and even the boldness, which had previously characterized him, disappeared. He acted as if he had a premonition that his troops would fail him. Doubtless their lack of spirit was apparent to him, and affected him without his knowledge; for commanders receive the impulses of their troops at least as often as they impart their own. At Nashville, the rebels certainly felt that they were outnumbered, and that their chance was gone; and on the night of the 15th of December, Hood made his preparations for retreat, although the issue was yet undecided.2 The behavior of the troops on the next day is described in caustic terms, not only by Hood himself, but by his corps commanders, in their official reports. After the first break in the line, a panic ensued, and it was

1 Beauregard's Endorsement on Hood's Report, January 9, 1865.

2 Reports of Hood's corps commanders.

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