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[218] learned that Kirby Smith had crossed the Kentucky, and that Bragg was moving to concentrate his forces either at Harrodsburg or Perryville. His own movement was therefore directed toward Perryville; three miles in front of which, moving with his 3d or central corps, he encountered, on the afternoon of the 7th, a considerable Rebel force, drawn up in order of battle; but which his advance pressed back a mile or so without much fighting; when he, expecting a battle, sent orders to McCook and Crittenden, commanding his flank corps, to advance on his right and left at 3 next morning.

McCook did not receive the order till 2 1/2 A. M., and he marched at 5; but Crittenden, unable to find water for his corps at the place where Buell had expected it to encamp for the night, had moved off the road in quest of it, and was six miles farther away than he otherwise would have been; so that the order to advance was not duly received, and his arrival at Perryville was delayed several hours.

A great drought then prevailing in Kentucky, causing severe privation and suffering to men and animals, the fight commenced early next morning, by an attempt of the enemy to repel the brigade of Col. D. McCook, which had been pushed forward by Buell on his immediate front to cover some hollows in the bed of Doctor's creek, whence a little bad water was obtained. This attempt was defeated by sending up the divisions of Gens. Mitchell and Sheridan, to hold the ground until our two flank corps should arrive; which the left, Gen. A. D. McCook, did between 10 and 11 A. M.; and the batteries of his advance division were sharply engaged with the enemy not long afterward.

Bragg was present in person; but his forces were commanded more immediately by Maj.-Gen. Bishop Polk, who had in hand five divisions--two under Hardee, and those of Patton Anderson, Cheatham, and Buckner — that of Withers having been sent by Bragg, the day before, to support Smith, who was retreating farther to the east, and was deemed in danger of being enveloped and cut off. Bragg gives no other reason for fighting before concentrating his entire command than that the enemy were pressing heavily on his rear; but it is clear that he had deliberately resolved to turn and fight at Perryville.

Maj.-Gen. McCook, having reached the position assigned him with but two of his three divisions — that of Gen. Sill having been detached and sent to Frankfort — had directed the posting of his troops and formation of his line of battle--Gen. Rousseau's division on the right, in line with the left of Gilbert's corps, and Gen. Jackson's on the left, near the little hamlet of Maxwell, on the Harrodsburg road — rode off and reported in person to Gen. Buell, 2 1/2 miles distant, in the rear of his right; and received verbal orders to make a reconnoissance in front of his position to Chaplin creek. Returning to his command, and finding nothing in progress but mutual artillery practice, to little purpose, he ordered his batteries to save their ammunition, while he made the directed reconnoissance; at the same time advancing his skirmishers and extending his

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