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 and begged him to hold the enemy in check. With gallantry which has been so often conspicuous, General Polk replied that he would do his best, and the enemy should not pass. Buford's cavalry, guarding a road which intersected the line of retreat four miles from Rockcastle river, was scattered very soon after our columns passed, while all through the day the booming of cannon, with occasional rattle of musketry, could be heard from the neighborhood of London. But our brave soldiers held their ground with unflinching firmness, and the army was saved. Here ended the pursuit. It is needless to recount the farther hard-ships of the retreat. They were such as an army marching through a mountainous country, without rations and shoes, and scantily clothed, at the verge of Winter, must necessarily suffer. Finally, on the 24th of October the van of General Smith's army entered Knoxville. Under the trying circumstances of the retreat the entire army preserved admirable discipline and order, but at Knoxville many brave men who had taxed nature beyond the limits of her endurance, sank utterly prostrated. It was estimated that not less than 15,000 men went immediately into hospital.1
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