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[168] which has taken the double name of the town and the river. Beside the winding little stream ran the turnpike to Nashville and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad.

Bragg had the advantage in cavalry. In addition to Wheeler's command there were the troops of Forrest and Morgan, who acted independently of the Army of the Mississippi, now known as the Army of Tennessee. These men, with several hundred horsemen, raided through the country, regardless of mud, snow, or ice, and at one time threatened Nashville, the Federal supply-depot. They tore up railroads, burned bridges, and left a trail of destruction in their wake. One night, early in December, Morgan pounced upon the town of Hartsville, overpowered the guard of several hundred Federal troops, captured and carried them to Murfreesboro.

Christmas day, in 1862, was passed by Bragg's army in whatever festivities the little town of Murfreesboro could afford. The fratricidal strife that was draining both the North and the South was forgotten for the moment. A general belief had circulated in the Confederate camps that the Federal commander, harassed on every side by the raiders, would have enough to do to keep his army intact, and would not make a general advance on Bragg. But soon there was a different story to tell. On the day after Christmas, the news reached the little town that the Federal army had emerged from Nashville, that it was headed directly for Murfreesboro, and that a great battle was imminent.

The battle-ground toward which the Federal army was marching was broken and heavily wooded, with an occasional open field, and gentle rises on which artillery and infantry could be posted. But cavalry was practically useless in this rough country. Stone's River, which ran through the battle-ground, was tortuous in its channel and shallow; its banks were fringed with clumps of cedar brakes. Numerous turnpikes converged at the little town of Murfreesboro from the surrounding towns; the principal highway being the Nashville

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