On the 21st of November General Hood began his march to Nashville; on the 29th crossed Duck river three miles above Columbia, and then, with Cheatham’s and Stewart’s corps and a division of Lee’s corps, marched to Spring Hill.
Cheatham was in front, and in his official report, dated December 11, 1864, General Hood stated that
“Major-General Cheatham was ordered at once to attack the enemy vigorously and get possession of this pike [the road to Franklin], and although these orders were frequently and earnestly repeated, he made but a feeble and partial attack, failing to reach the point indicated.”
Again, in his history of the campaign (“Advance and Retreat,” pp. 285,286) it is related:
“General Stewart was then ordered to proceed to the right of Cheatham and place his corps across the pike north of Spring Hill. By this hour, however, twilight was upon us, when General Cheatham rode up in person. I at once directed Stewart to halt, and turning to Cheatham I exclaimed with deep emotion, as I felt the golden opportunity fast slipping from me, ‘General, why in the name of God have you not attacked the enemy and taken possession of the pike?'”
Lieutenant-General Stewart, referring to this statement in a published letter, says that “no such exclamation by Hood to Cheatham could have been made in my presence.”
Source: Confederate Military History, Volume 8:
Tennessee Chapter X