his army in the field as well as my own during that time.
If the historians had read the records
War Records, Vol.
XLV. they could not possibly have fallen into such a mistake.
Before reaching Pulaski I was furnished with an order from General Thomas's headquarters assigning me to the command in the field, by virtue of my rank as a department commander, and a copy of instructions which had already been telegraphed to General Stanley at Pulaski.
I assumed command in the morning of November 14.
The moment I met Stanley at Pulaski, in the evening of November 13, he called my attention to the faulty position of the troops and to an error in General Thomas's instructions, about which I then knew nothing because I was unacquainted with the geography of the surrounding country.
Upon Stanley's statement, I halted Cox's division of the Twenty-third Corps a few miles north of Pulaski so that the troops might be the more readily placed as the situation required when I had time to con
e satisfactory character.
From that time forward my relations with General Thomas were of the same cordial character as they always had been; and I was much gratified by the flattering indorsement he placed on my official report, of which I then knew the substance, if not the exact words.
The Fourth Army Corps and the cavalry corps of the Military Division of the Mississippi having been under my command during only the few days occupied in the operations between Pulaski and Nashville (November 14 to December 1), no reports of the operations of those two corps were ever made to me after the close of that brief period.
Hence it was not possible for me to give any full account of the distinguished services of those two corps.
The cavalry were never seen by me. They were far in front or on the flank, doing all the seeing for me, giving me information of vital importance in respect to the enemy's movements.
How important that information was then regarded may be learned by a perusal
ting the battle of Franklin on the south side of the Harpeth, where defeat would have been disastrous; and that necessity had arisen absolutely and solely from the want of a bridge across that river, which I had suggested that General Thomas place there.
It was not possible for me, without utter disregard for the truth of history as well as for my own military reputation, to attempt to conceal those facts.
It must seem remarkable that in my report, dated December 7, of operations from November 14 to December 1, 1864, including the battle of Franklin, on which General Thomas placed his indorsement commending my skill, no mention whatever was made of any orders or instructions from General Thomas.
The simple fact was that I could not have quoted the orders and instructions General Thomas had given me for my guidance during those operations without implied criticism of General Thomas; hence it was then thought best to omit any reference to any such orders or instructions, and to li