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‘I did not turn my back on Thomas,’ wrote General Sherman, ‘until he himself assured me that he had in hand troops enough to prevent Hood from endangering the national interests in my rear.’1 ‘I have no fear,’ said Thomas to Sherman, on the 12th of November, ‘that Beauregard can do us any harm now, and if he attempts to follow you, I will follow him as far as possible.’ In fact, when Sherman and Thomas first discussed the campaign, and calculated the relative forces, Thomas asked for the Fourth corps only, and Sherman added the Twenty-fourth, to make assurance doubly sure;2 and when Sherman started for the coast, Thomas had in hand a force superior by ten thousand to Hood's army. Steedman, and Granger, and Rousseau were all nearer to him than to the enemy—the very men who afterwards overwhelmed, by numbers, the rebel command entrenched before Nashville. There was thus no necessity for the falling back, except what Thomas imposed on himself, by not concentrating earlier.

Still, with this strategy, although it would never have been his own, Grant found no positive fault; for it was possible that the delay made Hood weaker and Thomas stronger, and thus increased the preponderance which rendered victory secure. It was when the troops had been concentrated, and the enemy had been beaten, and Thomas still remained in his fortifications in front of a manifestly inferior army, while the country was anxious and operations elsewhere were dependent on those in Tennessee

1 General Sherman to Author, February, 1880.

2 Ibid.

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