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[248] only succeed, if it succeeded at all, at very great sacrifice of life. To remain where we were, hoping to compel Morgan to evacuate his position from want of food, offered equally doubtful results. He was believed to be provisioned for a month, and in that time an army could be raised in our rear which might force us to abandon the siege and retreat across the mountains. Lastly, to advance into Kentucky was a bold and hazardous movement, but less hazardous for its very temerity. It was thought that the enemy, not anticipating it, would be taken unprepared, which proved correct. It was known that he had but few old troops in Kentucky, and his raw levies were counted as nothing in the hands of our veterans. The movement created the liveliest emotions among the soldiers, and a sure reliance could be placed on their courage and endurance. Reducing the transportation to the minimum, we could move with such celerity, that, General Smith trusted to be able to fall upon the enemy in the blue grass region before he was well aware that we had crossed the Kentucky line. General Bragg, who had begun his advance against Buell, from Chattanooga, with 25,000 men, feared the movement was premature; but General Smith, with the enterprise and audacity so essential, and generally so successful, in offensive warfare, adopted it, and prepared rapidly for its accomplishment. One division was sent to Manchester and the other to London. Brigadier-General Leadbetter, of Heth's division, was stationed at Cumberland Ford, while Heth himself was to remain at Barboursville until Reynolds' brigade, three thousand strong, which had been ordered from Stevenson's command across Big Creek Gap, could join him. It was necessary to delay the advance until the artillery and wagon trains came up. In the meantime the soldiers subsisted on beef and roasting ears. Scott had captured some sutlers stores and a large number of wagons at London. On the 23d he attacked Metcalfe's cavalry and Garritts' infantry at Big Hill, and defeated them with severe loss. On the morning of the 27th of August, Cleburne's and Churchill's divisions moved forward to support Scott, and on the afternoon of the same day General Smith, leaving Heth in occupation, took the road northward. That night we bivouaced on the banks of a muddy stream, fifteen miles from Barboursville, and, starting early the next morning, reached Rockcastle river by noon. Churchill's division was there, Cleburne's a few miles beyond.

Hitherto the country was well watered. But from Barboursville to Rockcastle river there is no stream but the muddy creek just mentioned; and between Rockcastle river and the foot of Big Hill lies a barren, desolate region, destitute of water for men or animals. The

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