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46901Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Retreat and Fall Back

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  • DORR64OVI@aol.com
    Dec 27, 2010
      Once Thomas determines that Hoods intention is to fight his army and not follow Sherman into GA, Old Paps plan is to concentrate his forces.  Until Hood shows his hand about where he intends to move, either toward Knoxville or northward into Ky, Thomas prepares to check him either at Murfreesboro or Chattanooga. 
         Thomas orders Schofield to move gradually back from Pulaski to Columbia in case Hoods moves this way.  When the telegraph lines get cut between Thomas and Schofield, Thomas believes at this point that Hoods objective is Nashville and not Chattanooga.
         At Columbia Schofield is fooled by the appearance of Hoods artillery.  He fails to see that it is a trick to hold him in place while Hood crosses the Duck River and move to cut him off at Spring Hill.  After delaying for 12 some hours, Wilsons cavalry patrols reveal Hoods intentions and Schofield sends the 4th Corps hastily up the Columbia Pike.  Only Hoods own blunder at Spring Hill in failling to attack saves Schofield from capture and the Federals march past Hoods campfires on the retreat to Franklin and Nashville.
          When Thomas gets the word that Hood has crossed the Duck River and is moving north, it is at this point that he orders his forces to concentrate at Nashville.  Schofield is slowly retreating to Franklin where he must cross the Harpeth River.  Thomas orders him to defend Franklin while crossing and hopes Schofield can hold for three days to allow Smiths reeinforcements to arrive at Nashville.  Schofield replies that he cant hold Franklin and Thomas then orders him to pull his army back to Nashville.
          Approaching Franklin, Hood orders a frontal assault which is repulsed with heavy losses.  Schofield continues his retreat to Nashville after dark and reaches the cities defenses on Dec 1.  Hood follows Schofield to Nashville, but his losses have weakened his force so that it cannot attack Thomas.  Hood has now lost the critical element of initiative and Thomas has time to strengthen his forces especially his cavalry.   Despite fears of Hoods intentions and ability to move by Washington and Grant, Thomas waits out the Dec weather and finally attacks Hood, smashing him over the course of two days.
           So it appears that Schofields moves are a retreat which ultimately reveal Hoods intentions. 
      Kent Dorr
      In a message dated 12/27/2010 10:14:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, clarkc@... writes:

      Of course, in Schofield's mind (and his men) there is no withdrawal or fall back.

      Nashville is his destination from the beginning of the move from Atlanta.

      Thomas considers moving forward to Brentwood but decides to wait for Smith's divisions and remains concentrated at Nashville - especially with Forrest's whereabouts unknown.

      A number of garrisons at Chattanooga and northern Alabama are also ordered to concentrate toward Murfreesboro. These units had been placed to provide early warning and delay of such a move as Hood's. Once the move is discovered and well-developed, their mission is over md they are free to be re-deployed. Whether the new move is backward, forward or sideways is situation dependent.

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