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[280] wards. He believed, indeed, in Thomas more than Thomas did in himself. The subordinate always shrank from responsibility.1 He appeared relieved, when Sherman was appointed above him in May, 1864; and he was unwilling at first to be left behind in the very command where he was destined to reap such a harvest of fame. But Grant's confidence in his ability was one reason why he wanted Thomas to fight. He was sure he would win, if once he became engaged.

When the war was over, and the generalin-chief made his formal report of the operations of the year, he at first wrote out an elaborate criticism of Thomas's course; but afterwards determined to refrain from even the appearance of censure of one who had done so well for his country; and instead of dispraise, he declared in so many words, that though his own opinions were unchanged, Thomas's ‘final defeat of Hood was so complete that it would be accepted as a vindication of that distinguished officer's judgment.’

And, indeed, when criticism is spent, the fact remains that Thomas at Nashville did as much to end the rebellion as any one general in any one battle of the war. And in military matters nothing which is successful, is wrong.

After the victory, the revulsion in feeling at the North was marked. The country passed in two days from extreme uneasiness and anxiety to exultation and confidence. The event of the 15th of December dispelled at once all fear of disaster at Nashville, or of the invasion of Kentucky; while that of the 16th

1Thomas always shrank from supreme command and consequent responsibility.’—General Sherman to Author, April, 1879.

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