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 The army was concentrated and halted at Camp Dick Robinson in an impregnable position, formed by the junction of the Kentucky and Dick rivers. One brilliant, though hazardous, movement remained, which offered a possibility of retrieving the failing fortunes of the campaign. The Kentucky river, rising in the southeastern portion of the State, flows in a northwesterly direction to Boonsboro, when, turning to the left, it sweeps around in a semi-circle to Frankfort, and pours thence directly into the Ohio. Within this semi-circle are embraced the counties of Woodford, Fayette and Jessamine, which are regarded as the most fertile in the State, and contained supplies sufficient to subsist General Bragg's army for some time. By crossing into this Blue Grass region the easily defensible line of the Kentucky river could have been occupied. If the enemy attempted to cross at McCown's Ferry, or the fords between these and Richmond, he exposed his line of communications. At whatever fords he might attempt to cross, General Bragg, moving upon the shorter line, would have been able to concentrate a force which would render the passage impracticable. If the enemy retraced his steps, as in all probability he must have done, all that had heretofore been accomplished would have been lost, while General Bragg would have been offered the opportunity to attack him in flank and harrass his rear, and ample time to recruit his own army, which was worn by its late arduous service. If, finally, it was found necessary to retreat, the Pound Gap route was safe in any event, and that by Cumberland Gap almost equally so, while supplies could have been collected and depots established along the line of retreat, sufficient, at least, to obviate the worst of the suffering which the troops subsequently endured. That this plan was suggested, if not debated, in a council of war, there is reason to believe; but General Bragg concluded to retreat at once; determined finally, it has been said, by the rumored defeat of Van Dorn at Corinth. With four days rations, on the morning of the 13th of October the army commenced to retreat to East Tennessee, which it would require not less than twelve days to accomplish. Bragg, in advance, took the route by Mount Vernon, with Smith to follow by Big Hill. It devolved upon him, who had opened the way into Kentucky, by his brilliant victory at Richmond, to command the rear and cover, and in the main conduct a retreat, which his judgment did not sanction. And this he did with skill, which surmounted difficulties of no ordinary character,
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