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[412] Adams's brigade, on his right, was soon opposed by the reserve brigades of Thomas's front, hastily thrown out at right angles to the general Federal line, and after a severe combat Adams was driven back.

Breckinridge, now foiled in his flank movement, and recognizing the failure of the assault of Helm's brigade on the breastwork, withdrew his whole line to a position slightly in advance of that from which he had moved in the morning. Cleburne about the same time withdrew and re-formed his division in like manner. But neither of these with-drawals took place till enormous losses had been endured and the fury of the Confederate assault had made a deep lodgment in the minds of the two men directing the battle on the Federal side. Thomas, within a few minutes, sent three pressing calls for help to Rosecrans. Rosecrans — impressed by the terrific roar of the battle on his left, and by his own preconceived notion that Bragg was moving his whole army to that quarter, and under painful stress from Thomas's calls for help — now gave three orders which were worth to the Confederates all the precious blood Hill's corps seemed then to have uselessly poured out. But this reward for so much valor might not, perhaps, have been vouchsafed to the Confederates but for a lucky chance. General Bragg's order had required that each division should take up the attack consecutively from right to left. We have seen that a delay occurred in Cleburne's attack. A still further delay occurred in Stewart's, on his left, arising, perhaps, from the delay of Cleburne's left brigade. So that Rosecrans was led to give the orders I will now mention, under the impression that no attack would be made on his centre and right. Negley's division had, at Thomas's request, already been ordered from the centre to the Federal left, and was to be replaced in line by Wood's. At ten minutes past ten Rosecrans sent to McCook an absolute order to make immediate dispositions to withdraw the right so as to spare as much force as possible to Thomas, then heavily pressed. At half-past 10 he ordered McCook to send two brigades of Sheridan's division with all dispatch to Thomas, and the third as soon as it could be withdrawn, adding that they must march as rapidly as possible. They did, in fact, move at the double-quick. About the same time he also ordered Crittenden to send two brigades of Vancleve's division to Thomas.

Surely the desperate assault delivered by Hill's corps was then swaying the battle in a manner that ought to teach every soldier the supreme value of stout fighting, however adverse the immediate result may seem. But Rosecrans gave another order then not less unlucky. He conceived the notion that Wood's division was improperly posted

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