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[277] it was then that Grant became, first, disturbed, and finally, peremptory.

The event showed how true his instincts and perceptions were. The very completeness of the victory was the best proof that he had been right all the time. The national army which so easily conquered its foe, could have accomplished the same result, had it gone into action immediately after Smith and Steedman arrived. Thomas's success was not at all because of the delay, but in spite of it. All that he gained could have been gained two weeks before, for all that delay secured was a somewhat more efficient cavalry; and Wilson's cavalry was not engaged on either day of the battle, as cavalry. It fought as well as any part of the army, and distinguished itself as greatly; but it fought dismounted, and the horses were, in reality, a weakness, for one man out of four was detained at the rear to hold them. It was of great use as cavalry on the 17th, undoubtedly; acting with boldness and inflicting serious injury; and it certainly hastened the flight of the rebel army: but this, too, could have been accomplished a fortnight earlier; for on the 17th, Forrest had not arrived from Murfreesboroa, and there was only Chalmer's cavalry to oppose, not two thousand strong. Three days were lost at Duck river, and that time was never made up again. There was nothing in what occurred to justify either the long delay, or the anxiety which the delay lad caused. The victory would have been as splendid, and the rout as desperate, had Thomas moved on the day when he was first ordered to advance.

On the other hand, if Hood had displayed the

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