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[155] from one army to the other in an emergency. If such an officer was needed, I certainly was not the proper selection; for I had already expressed the opinion distinctly that such transfers were impracticable, because each of the two armies was greatly inferior to its antagonist; and they were too far from each other for such mutual dependence. The length of time consumed in the transportation of Stevenson's division without artillery or wagons, from Tennessee to Mississippi, fully sustained this opinion. That time was more than three weeks.

Brigadier-General Forrest, who was detached by General Bragg to operate on Major-General Grant's rear, was very successful in breaking railroads in Vest Tennessee. After destroying large quantities of military stores also, and paroling twelve hundred prisoners, he was pressed back into Middle Tennessee l)y weight of numbers. At the same time, a body of Federal cavalry under Brigadier-General Carter, supposed to be fifteen hundred, burned the Holston and Watauga railroad bridges near Bristol.

As soon as Major-General Rosecrans was informed of the large detachment from the Confederate army of Tennessee to that of Mississippi, he prepared to take advantage of it, and on the 26th1 of December marched from Nashville toward Murfreesboroa. On his approach this movement was promptly reported to General Bragg by Brigadier-General Wheeler, who commanded his cavalry. In consequence of this intelligence the Confederate army was immediately concentrated in front of Murfreesboroa. It numbered about thirty thousand infantry and artillery

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