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 should have reached the enemy's encampment before dawn, the advance of two regiments only reached there after broad daylight. To hesitate would have been to give the enemy time for preparation, and I think it was wisely decided to attack at once and rely upon the rear coming up to support the advance; the rear, encumbered with their artillery, were so far behind that, though the advance were successful in their first encounter, they did not receive the hoped — for support until they had suffered severely, and then the long-known and trusted commander of the forces there, the gallant and most estimable Zollicoffer, fell—whence confusion resulted. General Crittenden had been but a few days with the troops, a disadvantage which will be readily appreciated. Had the whole force been in position at early dawn, so as to have surprised the enemy, the plan would have been executed, and victory would have been the probable result; after which, Schopf's force might have been readily disposed of. But had the attack done no more than check the advance of Thomas until the boats under construction could have been finished, so as to enable Crittenden to save his artillery and equipments, it would have justified the attempt. I therefore think the strategy not only defensible but commendable, and the affair to be ranked with one of the many brilliant conceptions of the war. The reader will not fail to remark the evidence which General Crittenden's report affords of the fallacy of representing the South as having been prepared by supplying herself with the materiel necessary for war. The heart of even a noble enemy must be moved at the spectacle of citizens defending their homes, with muskets of obsolete patterns and shotguns, against an invader having all the modern improvements in arms. The two regiments constituting the advance were Battle's Twentieth Tennessee and the Fifteenth Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel E. C. Walthall. With dauntless courage they engaged the whole array of the enemy, and drove him from his first position. When at length our forces fell back to their entrenched camp, it was with sullen determination, and the pursuit was so cautious that whenever it ventured too near it was driven back by our rear guard. The valiant advance—the Fifteenth Mississippi and Twentieth Tennessee—bore the burden of the day. The Mississippians lost two hundred twenty out of four hundred engaged, and the Tennesseeans lost half as many, this being about three-fourths the casualties in our force. That night General Crittenden crossed his troops over the river, with the exception of those too badly wounded to travel. He was compelled to leave his artillery and wagons, not having the means of transporting them across, and moved with the remnant of his army toward Nashville.
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