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[459] 5,000 more within supporting distance. General Bragg's army, 22,000 strong, was still at Bardstown.

The enemy emerged from Louisville in three coloumns; one in the direction of Bardstown, another by Shelbyville, on Frankfort, and a third upon Taylorsville, apparently for the purpose of interrupting communication between our armies. Perceiving this, General Smith suggested to General Polk, commanding the right wing of Bragg's army, the necessity of defeating it, to which that officer responded promptly, and began manoeuvring with his right for that purpose.

On the afternoon of the 3d of October General Bragg came from Lexington to Frankfort, and the following day inaugurated Mr. Hawes Provisional Governor of Kentucky. This idle pageant was not imposing in ceremony, nor likely to be useful in results, while it was conducted to the sound of the enemy's guns, which boomed at intervals eight miles from the town.

That keen, but solemn excitement, which among veteran troops precedes an impending battle, pervaded every rank of the army. I believe that, at this moment, not a soldier or subordinate officer dreamed of retreating. Early in the morning Cleburne's division had been sent in the direction of Taylorsville, but the twenty thousand splendid soldiers who remained ought to have been a match for any force the enemy could bring against this point at this time. But General Bragg thought otherwise, and determining to concentrate his army before risking a battle, early in the afternoon ordered an immediate and rapid retreat. At sunset the bridge over the Kentucky river was fired, and the army took up its line of march for Versailles.

It cannot be denied that our forces were too widely separated, which, however, was equally true of the enemy's, and that in manoeuvering to concentrate, General Bragg acted upon the soundest military principle; but it may be questioned if the same object could not have been better gained by using the opportunity offered of defeating the enemy's left wing, while it was quite certain that by retreating he was given the great advantage of taking the initiative, while at the same time that portion of the State was abandoned, in which there were abundant supplies, for another in which there was less. It permitted the Federal commander to develop his attack at his leisure, and in his own way — enabling him to mask his real purposes and heaviest movements, which alone, as will be seen, proved fatal to us — and inspired his new levies with the confidence and elan of a pursuing and apparently successful army.

Its effect upon our friends in Kentucky was very lamentable. It

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