December General Foster obtained a position covering the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, between the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny Rivers.
Hood, instead of following Sherman, continued his move northward, which seemed to me to be leading to his certain doom. At all events, had I had the power to command both armies, I should not have changed the orders under which he seemed to be acting. On the 26th of October the advance of Hood's army attacked the garrison at Decatur, Ala., but failing to carry the place, withdraw toward Courtland, and succeeded, in the face of our cavalry, in effecting a lodgment on the north side of the Tennessee River, near Florence. On the 28th Forrest reached the Tennessee, at Fort Heiman, and captured a gunboat and three transports. On the 2nd of November he planted batteries above and below Johnsonville, on the opposite side of the river, isolating three gun-boats and eight transports. On the 4th the enemy opened his batteries upon the place, and was replied to from the gunboats and the garrison. The gunb-boats becoming disabled were set on fire, as also were the transports, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. About $1,500,000 worth of stores and property on the levee and in store-houses was consumed by fire. On the 5th the enemy disappeared and crossed to the north side of the Tennessee River, above Johnsonville, moving toward Clifton, and subsequently joined Hood. On the night of the 5th General Schofield, with the advance of the Twenty-third Corps, reached Johnsonville, but finding the enemy gone, was ordered to Pulaski, and put in command of all the troops there, with instructions to watch the movements of Hood and retard his advance, but not to risk a general engagement until the arrival of General A. J. Smith's command from Missouri, and until General Wilson could get his cavalry remounted.
On the 19th General Hood continued his advance. General Thomas, retarding him as much as possible, fell back toward Nashville for the purpose of concentrating his command and gaining time for the arrival of re-enforcements. The enemy coming up with our main force, commanded by General Schofield, at Franklin, on the 30th, assaulted our works repeatedly during the afternoon until late at night but were in every instance repulsed. His loss in this battle was 1,750 killed, 702 prisoners, and 3,800 wounded. Among his losses were 6 general officers killed, 6 wounded, and 1 captured. Our entire loss was 2,300. This was the first serious opposition the enemy met with, and I am satisfied was the fatal blow to all his expectations. During the night General Schofield fell back toward Nashville. This left the field to the enemy-not lost by battle, but voluntarily abandoned-so that General Thomas' whole force might be brought together. The enemy followed up and commenced the establishment of his line in front of Nashville on the 2nd of December. As soon as it was ascertained that Hood was crossing the Tennessee River, and that Price was going out of Missouri, General Rosecrans was ordered to send to General Thomas the troops of General A. J. Smith's command and such other troops as he could spare. The advance of this re-enforcement reached Nashville on the 30th of November. On the morning of the 15th of December General Thomas attacked Hood in position, and, in a battle lasting two days, defeated and drove him from the field in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands most of his artillery and many thousand prisoners, including four general officers.
Before the battle of Nashville I grew very impatient over, as it appeared to me, the unnecessary delay. This impatience was increased upon learning that the enemy had sent a force of cavalry across the Cum-