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[425] courage and heroic intrepidity of our officers and soldiers.

Bragg, in his official report, tersely and sensibly says:

The darkness of the night, and the density of the forest, rendered further movements uncertain and dangerous; and the army bivouacked on the ground it had so gallantly won.

This is enough for those who consider that human endurance has limits, and that men who have been marching their hardest and fighting their very best for two or three days, with scarcely a pause, need rest.

But it is not so clear that he should not have followed up his advantage next day, by an attack in force on Thomas and so much of our army as still confronted him around Rossville, barring his way to Chattanooga. Thomas could not have had over 25,000 men left; Bragg must have had thousands more, flushed with victory, and in good part confident of their ability to improve it by routing what remained of our army and chasing it into and through Chattanooga. Pollard says that Forrest climbed a tree, just as the fighting closed; and, seeing our army in full retreat, urged a general advance; and that Longstreet ordered Wheeler to interpose his cavalry between Rossville and Chattanooga; but Bragg countermanded the order. The fact officially stated by him, that he had lost two-fifths of his army in the terrible struggle thus terminated, suffices to justify his moving cautiously and surely.

Our losses on the Chickamauga were officially stated as follows:

Infantry and artillery1,64419,26224,94515,851
Cavalry, in various combats and skirmishes500

Total 16,351; which it is perfectly safe to increase, by stragglers and imperfect reports, to 20,000 from the hour of crossing the Tennessee till our army was concentrated in front of Chattanooga. Rosecrans claims to have captured and brought off 2,003 prisoners, and admits a loss of 7,500, including 2,500 of his wounded; also 36 guns, 20 caissons, and 8,450 small arms.

Bragg admits a total loss on his part of 18,000 men,3 of whom 16,000 must have been killed and wounded; and claims to have captured over 8,000 prisoners (including wounded), 51 guns, and 15,000 small-arms.

These statements are not necessarily incompatible. All the arms dropped by killed, wounded, or flying soldiers — no matter of which army — were of course gathered up by those who held the field, and counted among their spoils; and, while the victor counts all the guns he has taken, his worsted foe subtracts his captures from his losses, and returns only the net loss. And, as our men fought mainly on the defensive, often on ridges or behind rude breastworks, and lost very few in their retreat, it is probable that our killed and wounded were the fewer, as these antagonist reports would indicate.

1 Including Gen. W. H. Lytle, Ohio, Cols. Baldwin and Heg, commanding brigades; Cols. E. A. King, 68th Ind., Alexander, 21st, and Gilmer, 28th Ill.

2 Including Cols. Payne, 4th Ohio, Shackleford, 6th Ky., and Armstrong, 93d Ohio, with many others.

3 Gen. B. H. Helm's Kentucky brigade went into this fight 1,763 strong, and came out 432: Helm being among the killed. Bate's brigade lost 605 out of 1,085. A Mississippi brigade lost 781, and came out with but two regimental officers uninjured; and there were several more brigades which lost fully half their number.

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