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[395] gap, which is forty-two miles from Chattanooga.

Rosecrans determined to move one corps on each of these roads, and on the 8th of September his army was well engaged in this march. Bragg has been censured for permitting this peaceful crossing of the Tennessee, but without reason. He could not encounter Rosecrans at the crossing of the river without placing the tremendous defiles of Sand and Lookout Mountains at his own back. He wisely chose to await his enemy as he issued from these defiles, and, watching his chance, to fall with swift-descending stroke upon the heads of his encumbered columns. And now such an opportunity was about to present itself to the Confederate commander.

On the 7th of September Bragg, having ascertained the movement of the Federal army threatening his left and rear, determined to evacuate Chattanooga and move southward to Lafayette, twenty-six miles distant by a road which runs nearly parallel to the eastern face of Lookout Mountain. He determined that he would not move across the rough country on his right to attack Rosecrans's communications — a march which we have seen Rosecrans himself rejected. In this he was right. He determined that his force was too small to admit of holding on to Chattanooga with a detachment while he confronted the enemy's flanking movement with his main body. He therefore abandoned Chattanooga completely on the 8th of September. In this he was not so clearly right, but we shall see that the blunders of his adversary relieved him of the consequences of this error, if error it was. To have held on to Chattanooga and the point of Lookout Mountain with two divisions, whilst the remainder of the army moved to strike the heads of the turning columns of the enemy, would have been to imitate Gen. Lee's daring at Chancellorsville, when he sent Jackson on his immortal march, and yet left Early to dispute the heights of Fredericksburg. To give up Chattanooga was to place at once in Rosecrans's hands, without a struggle, the prize of the campaign, and who could divine that the Federal commander would still persist in his eccentric movement and offer such brilliant chances to his adversary as I am now to describe? Surely fortune was now about to smile on Bragg.

Try to take in the extraordinary situation. Rosecrans's three corps. were in the act to move from three points on the general line of Lookout Mountain, so remote from each other that the centre corps, Thomas's,. was distant twenty miles from Crittenden's on the Federal left, and twenty miles also from McCook's on the Federal right, when, on the night of the 8th of September, or certainly on the morning of the 9th, word was brought to Rosecrans that Crittenden's corps had only to walk into Chattanooga. Sherman, in the following year on the receipt of

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