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Smith, whose advance, so surely expected on the 25th, was still expected on the 27th. It seems incredible that General Thomas had not thought of sending Steedman's troops from Chattanooga, instead of waiting for the uncertain arrival of A. J. Smith. On November 27 I received an important despatch from General Thomas, dated November 25. It was written under the apprehension that Hood's design might be to move upon the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, as I had suggested to Thomas on the 24th, and informed me fully of his plans and instructions to meet such a movement, requesting me to give him my views in reply. In that despatch General Thomas said: In case you have to move to the north bank of Duck River, I wish you to keep some cavalry on the south side to observe and delay Hood's advance on the Chattanooga Railroad as much as possible. I hope to have five regiments of Granger's troops in Murfreesboroa to-day. Have made arrangements for Milroy to fall back to Murfreesbor
le. Sent you two regiments of cavalry day before yesterday, two yesterday, and will send another to-day. If you can hold Hood in check until I can get Smith up, we can whip him. Thus it appears that even as late as November 27 General Thomas had not thought of sending the 7000 men at Chattanooga to join the main force, although so anxious that I should hold Hood in check until he could get Smith up. He was still relying entirely upon A. J. Smith, whose advance, so surely expected on the 25th, was still expected on the 27th. It seems incredible that General Thomas had not thought of sending Steedman's troops from Chattanooga, instead of waiting for the uncertain arrival of A. J. Smith. On November 27 I received an important despatch from General Thomas, dated November 25. It was written under the apprehension that Hood's design might be to move upon the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, as I had suggested to Thomas on the 24th, and informed me fully of his plans and instruc
avalry day before yesterday, two yesterday, and will send another to-day. If you can hold Hood in check until I can get Smith up, we can whip him. Thus it appears that even as late as November 27 General Thomas had not thought of sending the 7000 men at Chattanooga to join the main force, although so anxious that I should hold Hood in check until he could get Smith up. He was still relying entirely upon A. J. Smith, whose advance, so surely expected on the 25th, was still expected on the 27th. It seems incredible that General Thomas had not thought of sending Steedman's troops from Chattanooga, instead of waiting for the uncertain arrival of A. J. Smith. On November 27 I received an important despatch from General Thomas, dated November 25. It was written under the apprehension that Hood's design might be to move upon the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, as I had suggested to Thomas on the 24th, and informed me fully of his plans and instructions to meet such a movement, r
iven as 3:30 A. M. It was answered by General Thomas at 10:30 P. M. and his answer was received by me November 29 (no hour mentioned in the records). The Department of the Ohio records say that I sent it at 2:30 P. M. The appendix to my report mentions the date November 29, but does not give the hour. My official report, as published, also says this information was received about 2 A. M. on the 29th; but this is evidently a clerical error: clearly the report should read, about 2 P. M. on the 28th. But our cavalry was unable to drive that of the enemy back, and hence Hood was free to lay his pontoon bridge and cross his infantry and artillery at any point above Columbia. We had not been able to hold even the crossings near us. The same day, November 28, at 4 P. M., I telegraphed: If Hood advances on the Lewisburg and Franklin pike, where do you propose to fight him? I have all the force that is necessary here, and General Smith's troops should be placed with reference to th
to Wilson of 8:15 A. M. I thus learned, a short time after eight o'clock on the morning of the 29th, that A. J. Smith had not yet arrived at Nashville, and that the position behind the Harpeth Rivey interference from the enemy. The army would have marched to Franklin early in the night of the 29th, instead of after midnight as it actually did. That would have given the enemy the afternoon and a serious matter, in view of the situation as it was understood by me up to about 8 A. M. of the 29th; for the information I had received up to that hour justified the belief that both A. J. Smith's ed by his despatch of 10:30 P. M., November 28, above quoted, received by me about 8 A. M. of the 29th. But there still remained the question when I must do it; and that I must solve myself, for Genees across the river. If pontoons had been laid or the wagon and railroad bridges improved on the 29th, as was done by me after my arrival, all could have crossed by noon of the 30th. General Thoma
e enemy's cavalry is already crossing three miles above. I will have lively times with my trains again. This despatch gives a very accurate estimate of the true situation at that time, except perhaps that I did not then fully appreciate how much our cavalry had gained in effective strength by the reinforcements that had joined the corps in the field during the retreat. I judged by the experience of the previous day (November 29). But the result was very different in the afternoon of the 30th, when our cavalry repulsed and drove back that of the enemy; at the same time the infantry assault was repulsed at Franklin. There was no apprehension of the result of an attack in front at Franklin, but of a move of Hood to cross the river above and strike for Nashville before I could effect a junction with the troops then at that place. The following despatches must have been sent either during the progress of the battle, or very soon afterward: Please send A. J. Smith's division to
October 19th (search for this): chapter 11
e reason that just at that time unusual demand was made upon those troops for service in East Tennessee, where some of the State forces had met with disaster. This probably accounts in part for the discrepancies in General Sherman's estimates referred to later. Hood's forces were then understood by General Thomas to consist of from 40,000 to 45,000 infantry and artillery, and 10,000 to 12,000 cavalry, including Forrest's command. I find from General Sherman's despatch to Thomas, dated October 19, that his estimate of Hood's strength, October 19, 1864, was about 40,000 men of all arms. I do not find in General Thomas's report or despatches any exact statement of his own estimate; but the following language in his official report of January 20, 1865, seems quite sufficiently explicit on that point: Two divisions of infantry, under Major-General A. J. Smith, were reported on their way to join me from Missouri, which, with several one-year regiments then arriving in the department,
October 31st (search for this): chapter 11
the steamer Rhode Island in January, 1865, I explained to him fully the error into which he had been led in respect to Thomas's action or non-action at Nashville in December, and he seemed to be perfectly satisfied on that point. But he did not ask me anything about what had occurred before the battle of Franklin, and hence I did not tell him anything. In connection with the action of General Thomas previous to the battle of Franklin, the following instructions from General Sherman on October 31 are important: You must unite all your men into one army, and abandon all minor points, if you expect to defeat Hood General Schofield is marching to-day from here. . . . War Records, Vol. XXXIX, part III, p. 535. Again, on the same date, he telegraphed: Bear in mind my instructions as to concentration, and not let Hood catch you in detail. I bid., p. 536. Sherman thus gave the most emphatic warning against the mistake which Thomas nevertheless made by failing to concentrate all h
November 9th (search for this): chapter 11
tion. And again, at 6 P. M.: The enemy's cavalry in force has crossed the river on the Lewisburg pike, and is now in possession of Rally Hill. Wilson is trying to get on to the Franklin road ahead of them. He thinks the enemy may swing around in between him and me, and strike Spring Hill, and wants Hammond's brigade to halt there. Please give it orders if you know where it is. Also, I think it would be well to send A. J. Smith's force to that place. In the night of November 28-9, about 2 A. M., I received the report of the cavalry commander, conveying the information given him by prisoners that the enemy had commenced to bridge the river near Huey's Mill, and urging the necessity of immediate retreat to Franklin. War Records, Vol. XLV, part i, p. 1143. The staff officer who handed me the despatch called my attention especially to the words urging immediate action, and I considered the subject quite a long time. But there did not seem to me to be any necessity for
November 19th (search for this): chapter 11
n the field, if possible; he must be able to act with more confidence than any subordinate can possibly feel. He was the sole judge as to the necessity of his remaining in Nashville, and no good reason could now be given for questioning the correctness of his judgment. It is only intended as an expression of a general rule for the consideration of military students. General Thomas's orders to General D. S. Stanley upon his being sent to Pulaski, and his subsequent orders to me, dated November 19, to fight the enemy at Pulaski if he advanced against that place, were, as shown in the following despatch from me, quite inapplicable to the then existing situation: Pulaski, November 20, 1864. Major-General Thomas: After full consideration I am of the opinion that this is not the best position for the main body of our troops, at least so long as we are inferior in strength to the enemy. If Hood advances, whether his design be to strike this place or Columbia, he must move vi
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