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[419] two armies equally brave, equally disciplined, and equally well handled, the decidedly larger — the ground affording no considerable advantage to the defensive — must generally triumph.

During the night, Bragg moved Breckinridge's division of Hill's corps from his extreme left to his extreme right: being still intent on flanking our left, and interposing between it and Chattanooga.

Our corps commanders reported to Rosecrans after nightfall. Negley had been brought down from our extreme right during the afternoon, and sent in just before night, on Van Cleve's right, pushing back the enemy. He was now ordered to report to Gen. Thomas; McCook being required to replace him by one of his divisions. McCook was ordered to close well on Thomas, refusing his right, and covering the position at widow Glenn's, where Thomas had his headquarters. Crittenden was to hold two divisions in reserve, ready to support McCook on our right or Thomas on the left, as should become necessary. These orders being given, our Generals lay down to snatch a brief rest; and the silence was thenceforth unbroken.

At daylight,1 Rosecrans, attended by part of his staff, was galloping along our lines. He found McCook's right too far extended, and Davis, with the reserve division, too far to the right; as were also Crittenden's two divisions in reserve, and ordered the requisite changes of position. Negley had not yet moved when the General returned from visiting our left, and was now directed to send Thomas his reserve brigade only; holding his place in the line with the other two till relieved. Crittenden, having his reserves at hand, was now directed to relieve him; but failed promptly to do so; and it was nearly 10 o'clock when Negley was relieved and enabled to proceed to strengthen Thomas, where he was sorely needed.

Both armies stood to their arms at daylight; and the battle was to have opened at once by an attack by Hill's corps on our left; but Polk's aid, sent with the order, could not find him; and the fighting did not commence till 8 1/2 A. M. In fact, it could not, without destruction to the assailants; for a dense fog filled the valley, rendering all objects indistinguishable at a few yards' distance; so that an attack might better have been delivered on any moonless but starlit night.2 Meantime, Thomas's corps (augmented by successive reenforcements, till it was now more than half our army) improved the non-shining hours by throwing up rude breastworks of logs and rails, which stood it in good stead thereafter.

The fog having lifted, Breckinridge, facing and overlapping our extreme left, advanced his fresh division, flanking our army, and pushing across the Rossville road, fighting desperately, and facing to the left when he had gone forward toward Rossville so far as his orders required. The movement was taken up in succession by the divisions farther and

1 Sunday, Sept. 20.

2 Polk says that, when he was ready to advance and attack, he found a division of the left wing (Longstreet's) directly in his front; so that, had he literally obeyed his orders, he must have slaughtered their own men. He had no choice but to wait till it was taken out of his way; and this consumed some two hours.

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