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[275] from Tennessee; but he made up his mind to this at Columbia, where he arrived on the 18th, and after that day, no important captures of guns or prisoners occurred, and no fighting on a scale worthy of record. All the harm was done on the battle-field, or before the rebels reached Columbia. Afterwards, though the national cavalry followed hard, they were never able to recover what was lost, or to bring Hood's main army again to a stand. The elements,—the rain, the snow, the icy streams—did more injury to the enemy than Wilson's pursuing column.

Thomas's strategy in the earlier part of the campaign has already been fully described. It was simply to fall back until he could concentrate his forces, and consider himself strong enough to attack or resist the enemy. It has also been shown that this was contrary to the expectations or wishes of either Grant or Sherman, neither of whom considered the falling back necessary. At any time after the 12th of November, Thomas could have called in his detachments from Chattanooga, Murfreesboroa, and Decatur, leaving the guards at his railroad block-houses, and thus have made up an army of veterans sufficient to have defeated Hood at Pulaski, at Columbia, or Franklin. He, however, preferred to wait at Nashville. This was with no farseeing intention of decoying Hood, of which there is not an intimation in his dispatches, nor a suggestion in his report; but solely from his inveterate disposition to cover every line and hold every point. In consequence, he had not the army in front of Hood which Grant expected and Sherman had arranged.

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