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 bridge was built and Hooker had passed over and was working up the slope of the south end of Missionary Ridge, and driving Breckinridge's advance before him. Now was the fullness of battle time. Bragg was up there with a comparatively short line. He had well-filled intrenchments a little nearer, at the foot of the ridge. The veteran Hardee, against Sherman, commanded his right, and Breckinridge, as we have said, his left against the lines of Hooker steadily ascending in that quarter. The Confederate Chief Bragg himself, in the center, like an elephant between two persistent tigers, had his mind much distracted; who could wonder or who, except the Confederate press of that day, could blame him I It was the “supreme moment.” Grant took the cigar from his mouth, cleared his throat, and told Thomas to capture the intrenchments at the foot of Missionary Ridge. The patient Thomas had been ready all day. The six loaded cannon were ready. In an instant, one after another, in slow succession, so as to be distinctly heard, they boomed forth the inspiring signal. Every soldier in Thomas's four divisions understood that call. But to emphasize it, our various batteries, perched on many hills and convenient knolls, at once fired shot and shells toward the doomed ridge. I am not sure that this previous artillery practice in battle at long ranges does much good, where there are no walls to break down. It may occupy the enemy's artillery and keep it from effective work against our advancing men, but it prevents anything like a surprise. It would seem wiser to give the foe no formal warning, but, like Stonewall Jackson, burst upon his flank or his intrenchments, without a previous cannon shot.
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