other execution he might.
He failed in this — the bridge being too strongly held — but damaged the railroad a little, and thoroughly alarmed the enemy; so that, on a renewal of Rosecrans
's maneuvers to flank Tullahoma
as he had flanked Shelbyville
and three divisions of our infantry entered it at noon next day.
, and Turchin
, severally struck the Rebel
rearguard on Elk river
the day after; but found that stream so swollen by the incessant rains as to be scarcely fordable.
When they did cross,2
the enemy had wholly disappeared, and were beyond the reach of present pursuit.
Thus, in nine days, Rosecrans
had, without a serious engagement, cleared Middle Tennessee
of the Rebel
army, at a cost of barely 560 men; disabling at least as many, and taking 1,634 prisoners, 3 guns, and much other spoil.
And only the celerity of Bragg
's flight, with the lack of suspicion on our side that he would abandon the State
and his strong positions without a struggle, saved him from still greater disasters.
, having obtained a fair start, by running while Rosecrans
was intent on fighting, and having the use of a railroad whereon to transport his heavy guns and supplies, destroying it behind him, easily made good his flight over the Cumberland mountains
and the Tennessee
; crossing the latter at and near Bridgeport
, where he destroyed the railroad bridge behind him. Roscerans was expected at Washington
to follow him up sharply: but how could he?
His army must live; and it could by no means subsist on what was left it by Bragg
's devouring host in that rugged, sterile region; while the wagoning of food, much more of forage, over the steep, often waterless mountains that abound there, was utterly impracticable.
While, therefore, his light troops followed the flying enemy to the river, and his advanced posts stretched from Stevenson
on the right to Pelham
on the left, the General
kept his main body behind the Cumberland mountains
, on a line from Winchester
, while his engineers repaired the railroad down to Stevenson
; when the East Tennessee
road was in like manner repaired thence to Bridgeport
's division of McCook
's corps thrown forward to hold it. Even by the help of such a railroad line, Rosecrans
felt that forage could not be had in that rugged, wooded, scantily grassed region, until the Indian
corn was far enough matured to afford it. At length, having already accumulated considerable supplies at Stevenson
, our army moved on:4 Thomas
's corps following the general direction of the railroad to Stevenson
and thence to Bridgeport
's corps moving on its right, with Stanley
's cavalry thrown far out on that flank; while Crittenden
's corps, on our left, advanced in three columns, under Wood
, Van Cleve
, and Palmer
, from Manchester
, across the Sequatchie valley
at different points, moved directly on Chattanooga
, the remaining Rebel stronghold in Tennessee
, the key of East Tennessee
and of all practicable northern approaches to Georgia
These movements were so thoroughly prepared and judiciously