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[73] of the enemy. Their prisoners claimed that their armies left Louisville ninety-five thousand strong. Of these more than three thousand were put hors du combat at Perryville; Dumont with five thousand was slowly advancing on Lexington, which we had abandoned, while Sill had just been driven in disorder, with the loss of several hundred prisoners, across Salt river, and could hardly join the main army in time or in condition to take part in the impending battle. When, in addition, it is remembered that this army was composed, to a great extent, of raw levies, hastily collected and organized, with little discipline, and unaccustomed to the march, and had been pushed forward from Louisville with great rapidity, on scant rations, through a badly watered country, a moderate allowance for stragglers, and the details necessary to guard its long line of communications, would reduce its effective strength of all arms below seventy thousand.

During the greater part of the day General Smith was occupied in choosing the battle-field, some two miles beyond Harrodsburg. The country is rolling and mostly cleared, and offered advantageous positions. In the afternoon General Bragg rode along the lines, making some slight alterations, and was enthusiastically cheered. At dusk he returned to Harrodsburg, and General Smith took quarters close to and a little outside of the lines. At midnight the enemy were reported within three-fouths of a mile, moving in force around our left, in such a manner as to require a change of front, for which the proper dispositions were promptly made. About 3 A. M. General Smith was sent for by Gen. Bragg, and remained in consultation with him till nearly daylight, at which hour, when every ear was pricked to catch the first notes of the coming storm, he returned with orders for an immediate and rapid retreat, and by sunrise not a Confederate soldier remained upon the field.

Thus at last were destroyed all the bright hopes with which fortune had so long tantalyzed us.

At Cave City, at Bardstown and Frankfort, great advantages were foregone. When it is recollected how much might have been gained at Perryville, the battle there can be regarded as little short of a disaster. But at Harrodsburg the campaign was finally abandoned, with the total defeat of all its prospects.

Two reasons were assigned for this retreat--one, the exhausted condition of the troops that had fought the battle of Perryville, the other the heavy movement of the enemy on our left flank, which threatened to intercept our line of retreat.

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