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[60] for the saddle, occupying a position immediately in rear of, and accessible to all parts of the line. With increasing anxiety and disappointment, I waited untill after sunrise without hearing a gun, and at length dispatched a staff-officer to Lieutenant-General Polk to ascertain the cause of the delay, and urge him to a prompt and speedy movement. This officer not finding the General with his troops, and learning where he had spent the night, proceeded across Alexander's bridge to the east side of the Chickamauga, and there delivered my message. Proceeding in person to the right wing, I found the troops not even prepared for the movement. Messengers were immediately dispatched for Lieutenant-General Polk, and he shortly after joined me, my orders were renewed, and the General was urged to their prompt execution, the more important as the ear was saluted throughout the night, with the sounds of the axe and fallen timber, as the enemy industriously labored to strengthen his position by hastily constructed barricades and breastworks. A reconnoissance made in the front of our extreme right, during this delay, crossed the main road to Chattanooga, and proved the important fact that this greatly desired position was open to our possession.

The reasons assigned for this unfortunate delay by the wing commander, appear in part in the reports of his subordinates. It is sufficient to say they are entirely unsatisfactory. It also appears from these reports that when the action was opened on the right, about 10 o'clock A. M., the troops were moved to the assault in detail, and by detachments, unsupported until nearly all parts of the right wing were in turn repulsed with heavy loss. Our troops were led with the greatest gallantry, and exhibited great coolness, bravery and heroic devotion. In no instance did they fail, when called on, to rally and return to the charge; but though invariably driving the enemy with great slaughter, at the points assailed, they were compelled in turn to yield to the greatly superior numbers constantly brought against them. The attack on the left, promptly made as ordered, met with less resistance, much of the enemy's strength having been transferred to our right, and was successfully and vigorously followed up. About 2 P. M., passing along the line to our left, I found we had been checked in our progress by encountering a strong position, strengthened by works, and obstinately defended. Unable to afford assistance from any other part of the field, written orders were immediately dispatched to Lieutenant-General Polk, to again assault the enemy in his front with his whole force, and to persist until he should dislodge him from his position. Directing the operations on our left to be continued, I

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Leonidas Polk (6)
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