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[406] result. The successive arrival of these divisions, soon to be followed by Davis's and Wood's, and then by Sheridan's and Negley's, relieved the Federal Commander of an anxious apprehension, to which I must now particularly advert.

When Rosecrans began his movement to his left, Wood's division remained in the strong position at Lee's Mills, to mask the march of the army. When Thomas took position at Kelley's, there was a gap of two miles or more between his right and Wood's left, which Rosecrans hoped partly to fill by divisions of Crittenden's and McCook's corps, then moving. But events were too rapid for orderly movements. The battle was precipitated by Thomas's reconnoisance, and all these moving divisions were hurried up, without reference to corps formation, to the neighborhood of Kelly's where the fight was raging. The gap in the Federal line still yawned between Wood and Thomas. This gap would gradually be filled as Thomas would throw into it the divisions arriving to his support, and finally in the stress put upon the Northern Commander-in-Chief he was led to close it completely by moving Wood's division to the left, too, abandoning Lee's Mills to the custody of Lytle's single brigade.

But, to make this explanation, I am anticipating the progress of the battle. We had reached the point where Cheatham's appearance on the Confederate right had been completely neutralized by the rapid flood of the Federal movement to their own left. I have spoken of General Bragg's order to Cheatham, given at 11 o'clock, as wrested from him by Thomas's attack on Walker and as a surrender to the enemy's initiative. It is a bad augury in battle when a General thus yields to the stress of his opponent's will and his only idea of meeting an attack is to meet it at the precise point at which it is made and at which the enemy has all the advantages of time and preparation. General Bragg intended to turn his enemy's left flank, when suddenly he became aware that his enemy's left overlapped and overmatched the Confederate right. His only idea then seemed to be to persevere in his first plan, to insist on being stronger on his own right, and for that purpose to hurry Cheatham's division over three miles and Hill's corps over six miles of troublesome country and hours of priceless time.

It is not so that great commanders have met sudden attacks deranging preconcerted plans. They do not meet blow with blow, like the vulgar combatants of the prize-ring, but stroke with counterstroke. When Napoleon stood on his hill at Austerlitz and calmly watched the tremendous movement of the allied army to turn his right flank, he was not concerned to hurry troops to Davoust's support on that

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