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[177] small degree annoyed our generals in their manoeuvring of their commands.

We pressed on amid the moving columns which lined the road without any incident worthy of special note, until about one o'clock, when, emerging from the woods into a little cleared valley, we found Gen. McClernand and staff. Several regiments were drawn up in line of battle order on our right, and through the valley and up the ridge, in front and to the north-east of us, we could see the gleaming of the bayonets of Oglesby's brigade, our advance.

Receiving information that the enemy had been seen on the ridge in front of us, Gen. Grant immediately ordered the hills to be occupied by our forces, moving in line of battle order. It was finely executed — the men pushing forward with even front through the brush, over brooks and fences, until the desired point had been reached.

In the mean time, while this order was being carried out, sharp musketry firing was heard up the hill over which the road led, and occupied by Gen. Oglesby's brigade. It was but brief however, and upon going forward it was ascertained that a small advance force of the enemy had been met by the Eighth Illinois, under Lieut.-Col. Frank Rhodes, and, after a slight skirmish, driven back with a loss of a few killed and wounded on their side, and four wounded of the Eighth, who were now being promptly attended to by the surgeons.

The Eighth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Illinois were drawn up on the road in line of battle, and in the front Capt. Swartz had got a couple of his guns in position, ready for any emergency. Gen. Grant here gave orders for a still further advance to the next ridge to the north and left of us, and then returned to the further advance of the brigades behind. Retrograding to the open field, Gen. Smith was met, who stated that his division was close behind, and would soon be up to support any advance which might be made.

After considerable scouring of the woods to the north, it was discovered that what rebels were to be seen were on the road to the front of us. Our advance soon after discovered their encampment on a barren hillside, directly in front of us, and on the main road leading to the Cumberland. A further movement on the part of Gen. Oglesby's division discovered more forces posted on a high ridge leading west of this encampment, and as our regiments swept around from their respective positions on the road to the right and left, and gradually coming round with a face to the north, there we were face to face with the enemy. This, however, was not discovered instantly. The encampment of the enemy very naturally was the chief point of attraction, and toward it, having got his troops in proper position, Gen. Grant first directed his attention.

But few troops were visible about it, and at first it was difficult to ascertain where the rebel forces had been distributed. One of the twelve-pound rifled James's cannon, of Dupee's battery, was ordered to stir them up a little, but although he threw a shell with such accuracy, not a response could be got, and were it not for indications of a large force posted on the ridge to the west of the camp, it would have seemed their chivalry had repeated their Fort Henry achievement, and had decamped on our approach. Thus were matters at half-past 3 o'clock P. M., when Oglesby's brigade, which occupied the road on the hill, were ordered to advance. They filed down the hill, anticipating an immediate opening of the fight, with a determination and confidence most inspiriting. Some were still smoking their pipes with easy nonchalance, while all went forward with a spirit and will which well foreshadowed the gallant deeds subsequently performed by them. The Eighteenth, Eighth, and Thirtieth, reaching the bottom of the hill, filed out into an open field to the left, and formed in line of battle. Other regiments went on the ridge still farther to the west.

It was not until these movements had all been executed that it was at last discovered that we were now directly in the face of a large body of the enemy. Then it was ascertained that we were at the rear of the Fort outside their redoubt and breastworks, extending on either side on the summits of the ridges to the right and left of us. By this time the day was nearly at an end. Our heavier artillery was not yet in position, and the General concluded that it was advisable to make no assault on them that night. So, giving orders for placing the artillery in proper position, and providing against their retreat, he quietly waited the approaching dawn.

The night was most supremely beautiful, and will probably long be remembered by those who survived the terrible scenes subsequently enacted amid the wilds of the hills surrounding. Our troops, just now arrived in face of the enemy and in range of their batteries, lay on their arms with cheerful anticipations of the morrow. The evening air was still, mild, and genial, and the bright moon shone forth equally beautiful over friend and foe.

Were it not for the camp-fires dimly visible here and there, to the rear of either force, and the occasional crack of the rifle of some daring sharp-shooter who had crept up under the intrenchments to get a shot at some heedless enemy, there was little to denote to a stranger, who might have accidentally wandered to some of the neighboring ridges, that amid the hills and valleys surrounding, were fifty thousand or sixty thousand men, only waiting for the coming dawn to begin what was destined to prove the bloodiest and most terrible conflict ever witnessed on this continent.

Thursday opened as clear and serene as the day before it. Upon the first coming of the dawn our skirmishers had descended into the valley, and our artillery, posted on the hills, had opened an experimental fire, which being occasionally returned by the enemy, gave us some information in regard to the position of their batteries. The night before we were in possession of but little information in regard to the character of their fortifications, and although it was generally supposed we were in front of some rather formidable

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