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[323]

Chapter 39:


Operations in the West now claim attention. General Bragg, soon after taking command, as has been previously stated, advanced from Tupelo and occupied Chattanooga. Meantime General E. K. Smith with his force held Knoxville, in east Tennessee. Subsequently, in August, he moved toward Kentucky, and entered that State through Big Creek Gap, some twenty miles south of Cumberland Gap. After several small and successful affairs, he reached Richmond in the afternoon of August 30th. Here a force of the enemy had been collected to check his progress, but it was speedily routed, with the loss of some hundred killed and several thousand made prisoners, and a large number of small arms, artillery, and wagons were captured. Lexington was next occupied; thence he advanced to Frankfort; moving forward toward the Ohio River, a great alarm was created in Cincinnati, then so little prepared for defense that, had his campaign been an independent one, he probably could and would have crossed the Ohio and captured that city. His division was but the advance of General Bragg's, and his duty to cooperate with it was a sufficient reason for not attempting so important a movement.

General Bragg marched from Chattanooga on September 5th, and without serious opposition entered Kentucky by the eastern route, thus passing to the rear of General Buell in middle Tennessee. Becoming concerned for his line of communication with Nashville and Louisville, and especially for the safety of the latter city, Buell collected all his force and retreated rapidly to Louisville. This was a brilliant piece of strategy on the part of General Bragg, by which he manoeuvered the foe

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