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[361] he was ordered to move into McLemore's Cove to make a demonstration in that direction, where, after a severe engagement, he developed a force too large to be dislodged. On the 18th he was directed to hold the gap in Pigeon Mountain, so as to prevent the enemy from moving on our left. As appeared subsequently, General Rosecrans, by forced marches, had made a detour, and formed a junction of his forces in front of ours, so that it was no longer needful to hold the passes of the Pigeon Mountain, and Wheeler with his cavalry was called to take position on the left of our line.

On the night of the 19th, the whole force having been assembled, including the five thousand effective infantry sent for temporary service from Virginia, the command was organized as two corps, the one on the right to be commanded by Lieutenant General Polk; the other, on the left, to be commanded by Lieutenant General Longstreet. These corps consisted respectively as follows: Polk's right wing, of Breckinridge's, Cleburne's, Cheatham's, and Walker's divisions, and Forrest's cavalry—aggregate, 22,471; Longstreet's left wing, of Preston's, Hindman's, Johnson's (Hood's), Law's, Kershaw's, Stewart's divisions, and Wheeler's cavalry—aggregate, 24,850; grand aggregate of both wings, 47,321. The forces under Rosecrans, as has been subsequently learned, consisted of McCook's corps, 14,345; Thomas's, 24,072; Crittenden's, 13,975; Granger's, about 5,000; cavalry, 7,000: whole number, 64,392. On the night of the 19th General Bragg gave his instructions orally to the general officers whom he had summoned to his campfire, as to the position of the different commands; the order of battle was that the attack should commence on the right at daybreak, and be taken up successively to the left. From a. combination of mishaps it resulted that the attack was not commenced until nine or ten o'clock in the day, and, what was much more important, the troops from the right to left did not in rapid succession engage, so as to have that effectiveness which would have resulted from concert of action. Prodigies of valor were performed, many partial successes were gained in the beginning of the battle, but in the first operations the troops so frequently moved to the assault without the necessary cohesion in a charging line that nearly all early assaults by our right wing were successively repulsed with loss. Though at first invariably successful, our troops were subsequently compelled to retire before the heavy reenforcements constantly brought.

Wheeler with his cavalry struck boldly at the enemy's extreme right and center, and with such effect that, in the Federal battle reports, it appears the attack was mistaken for a flank movement by General Longstreet.

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