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[322] right and rear, toward Canton, without informing me of this strange departure from the instructions he had received. I heard of this erratic movement after it had caused such loss of time as to make the attack intended impracticable; for its success depended on accuracy in timing it. The intention was therefore abandoned.1 The sound of the artillery of the Federal column following Hardee's corps, and that of the skirmishing of Wheeler's troops with the other, made it evident in an hour that the Federal forces would soon be united before us, and indicated that an attack by them was imminent. To be prepared for it, the Confederate army was drawn up in a position that I remember as the best that I saw occupied during the war --the ridge immediately south of Cassville, with a broad, open, elevated valley in front of it completely commanded by the fire of troops occupying its crest.

The eastern end of this ridge is perhaps a mile to the east of Cassville. Its southwest end is near the railroad, a little to the west of the Cassville Station. Its length was just sufficient for Hood's and Polk's corps, and half of Hardee's, formed as usual in two lines, and in that order from right to left. The other half of Hardee's troops, prolonging this line, were southwest of the railroad, on undulating ground on which they had only such advantage as their own labor, directed by engineering, could give them. They worked with great spirit, however, and were evidently full of confidence. This gave me assurance of success on the right and in the centre, where we had very decided advantage of ground.

1 See General Mackall's letter in note, page 323.

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