extreme right a little after sunset was destined to close that busy day with a brilliant night attack on the Federal
, it seems, after the repulse of Cheatham
's attack, finding no pressure there had shifted Brannan
to his right to restore the imperilled centre, and was about to withdraw Baird
's and Johnson
's divisions to a stronger position in their rear.
Just then Cleburne
dashed upon their weakened line with his fiercest onset.
It soon grew dark and the furious fire of musketry and cannon was comparatively harmless, but the Federal
line was broken and driven, several hundred prisoners and two or three guns were captured, and the tired Confederates were at length allowed to rest with this augury of success for the eventful morrow.
Whilst they lie down about their myriad camp-fires in what now, in the dense fog rising from the Chickamauga
, soon took on the bewildering aspect of some enchanted forest — hungry and supperless, for of course the three days rations supposed to be in the haversack had been eaten on the first day, and the wagons were miles away — let us sum up the results of this bloody day and forecast the chances of the next.
The losses had been heavy on both sides, but probably about equal.
The battle had consisted in a series of successive combats between fractions of the armies in which the advantage passed from side to side without decisive result, neither winning any important ground from the other.
The Confederates had gained the whole line of the river, but the Federals
held the Lafayette
Yet there was this promise of success to the Confederates
for the next day that, whereas nearly all of Rosecrans
's infantry had been hotly engaged, of the eleven Confederate divisions of foot, five were substantially fresh.
Both armies felt that the battle would be renewed, and that the attack would come from the Confederates
To direct that attack General Bragg
called his lieutenants to his camp-fire soon after nightfall, General Longstreet
arriving from Virginia
about eleven o'clock. Here General Bragg
, changed the organization of his army — a dangerous experiment in the crisis of a battle — by dividing it into two wings, the right under command of Polk
, of five divisions, the left under command of Longstreet
, of six divisions, one of which, McLaws
's from Virginia
, only came on the field on the morning of the 20th.
's plan was to continue his original movement to turn the Federal
left and thus cut Rosecrans
off from Chattanooga
To accomplish this he ordered that the advance to the attack should begin at daybreak on Polk
's extreme right, and be taken up successively