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[541] General Bragg's corps, deployed in line of battle, with their respective artillery following immediately by the main road to Pittsburg, and the cavalry in rear of the wings. The second line, composed of the other troops of Bragg's corps, followed the first at a distance of five hundred yards, in the same order as the first. The army corps under General Polk followed the second line at the distance of about eight hundred yards, in lines of brigades, deployed with their batteries in rear of each brigade, moving by the Pittsburg road, the left wing supported by cavalry; the reserve, under Brigadier-General Breckinridge, followed closely the third line, in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry.

These two corps constituted the reserve, and were to support the front lines of battle, by being deployed, when required, on the right and left of the Pittsburg road, or otherwise, according to the exigencies of the battle.

At 5 A. M. on the 6th instant, a reconnoitring party of the enemy having become engaged with our advanced pickets, the commander of the forces gave orders to begin the movement and attack as determined upon; except that Trabue's brigade of Breckinridge's division was detached to support the left of Bragg's corps and line of battle when menaced by the enemy, and the other two brigades were directed to advance by the road to Hamburg, to support Bragg's right, and at the same time Manney's regiment of Polk's corps was advanced by the same road to reinforce the regiment of cavalry and battery of four pieces, already thrown forward to watch and guard Grier's, Tanner's, and Borland's fords of Lick Creek.

Thirty minutes after 5 o'clock A. M. our lines and columns were in motion, all animated, evidently, by a promising spirit. The front line was engaged at once, but advanced steadily, followed, in due order, with equal resolution and steadiness, by the other lines, which were brought successively into action with rare skill, judgment, and gallantry, by the several corps commanders, as the enemy made a stand with his masses rallied for the struggle for his encampments. Like an alpine avalanche our troops moved forward, despite the determined resistance of the enemy, until after 6 o'clock P. M., when we were in possession of all his encampments between Owl and Lick Creeks but one, nearly all of his field artillery, about thirty (30) flags, colors, and standards, over three thousand prisoners, including a division commander, General Prentiss, and several brigade commanders, thousands of small arms, an immense supply of subsistence, forage, and munitions of war, and a large amount of means of transportation— all the substantial fruits of a complete victory, such, indeed, as rarely have followed the most successful battles, for never was an army so well provided as that of our enemy.

The remnant of his army had been driven in utter disorder to the immediate vicinity of Pittsburg, under the shelter of the heavy guns of his iron-clad gunboats, and we remained undisputed masters of his well-selected, admirably provided cantonments, after over twelve hours of obstinate conflict with his forces, who had been beaten from them and the contiguous covert, but only by a sustained onset of all the men we could bring into action.

Our loss was heavy, as will appear from the accompanying return, marked

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B. Bragg (4)
L. Polk (2)
John C. Breckinridge (2)
R. P. Trabue (1)
Prentiss (1)
George Manney (1)
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