Occupying a strong defensive position before the city of Nashville, Union commander George H. Thomas enjoyed a near 2:1 numerical advantage over his opponent John Bell Hood’s Army of the Tennessee. To exploit this superiority, he launched a diversionary attack on the Confederate right flank while Generals Smith and Wilson arced round to attack the Confederate left. Although the diversion, led by James Steedman, was ultimately repulsed, the Confederates were driven back over a mile, and, by nightfall on 15 December, Wilson and Smith had secured the Hillsboro Pike. The following morning, the stratagem was repeated: Steedman’s assault on Overton Hill forcing Hood to reinforce his right, leaving his left flank exposed to a devastating renewed attack by Smith and Wilson, reinforced by Schofield through the centre. By late afternoon, the Confederate lines had crumbled, and a rout ensued, effectively ending the Army of the Tennessee as a fighting force.
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