impossible to rally the army.
These panics, which seized upon veteran troops in the Valley of the Shenandoah
and in Tennessee
, almost at the same epoch of the war, were doubtless the result of the conviction, gradually pressing itself home to soldiers and civilians at the South
, that their cause was hopeless.
The all-embracing strategy of Grant
, his remorseless energy, his ceaseless attacks, dispirited and unmanned the bravest of his foes.
The rank and file of Hood
's command had heard that Sherman
was penetrating Georgia
, while Lee
was held at Richmond
; they knew of Early
's disasters, and felt that even their own success could only delay the inevitable end. When troops are imbued with feelings like these, a slight reverse is easily converted into irremediable ruin.
The condition of the rebel army, however, detracts in no degree from the skill of Thomas
or the gallantry of his soldiers at Nashville
After that sturdy commander finally made up his mind to fight, his dispositions were admirable, and he was ably seconded by his generals.
Every movement originally planned was carried out, and the battle proceeded by regular steps to its intended consummation.
The only material change in the plan consisted in the removal of Schofield
from his place in reserve and in rear of Wood
, to the point, on the right of Smith
, where his presence was more important: and this use of the reserve, though not absolutely designed in advance, was all the more creditable to Thomas
, for it showed him able to develop his schemes and adapt them to new and unforeseen emergencies.
But though there was development, there was no interruption of his plan.
Even the resistance at