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[61] moved again to the right and soon dispatched a staff officer to General Polk, urging a prompt and vigorous execution of my written orders. About 4 P. M., this general assault was made and the attack was continued from right to left, until the enemy gave way at different points and, finally, about dark, yielded us his line. The contest was severe, but the impetuous charge of our troops could not be resisted when they were brought to bear in full force, even where the enemy possessed all the advantage of position and breastworks. The troops were halted, by their respective commanders, when the darkness of the night, and the density of the forest rendered further movements uncertain and dangerous, and the army bivouaced on the ground it had so gallantly won. Both flanks having advanced more rapidly than the centre, they were found confronting each other in lines nearly parallel, and within artillery range. Any advance by them, especially at night, over ground so thickly wooded, might have resulted in the most serious consequences.

The enemy, though driven from his lines, still confronted us, and desultory firing was heard until eight P. M. Other noises, indicating movements and dispositions for the morrow, continued until a late hour at night.

During the operations by the main forces, on the 19th and 20th, the cavalry, on the flanks, was actively and usefully employed, holding the enemy in observation and threatening or assailing him as occasion offered. From the report of Major-General Wheeler, commanding on the left, it will be seen what important service was rendered, both on the 20th and 21st, by his command, especially in the capture of prisoners and property, and in the dispersion of the enemy's cavalry. Brigadier-General Forrest's report will show equally gallant and valuable services by his command on our right.

Exhausted by two days battle, with very limited supply of provisions, and almost destitute of water, some time in daylight was absolutely essential for our troops to supply these necessaries and replenish their ammunition before renewing the contest. Availing myself of this necessary delay to inspect and readjust my lines, I moved, as soon as daylight served, on the 21st. On my arrival, about sunrise, near Lieutenant-General Polk's bivouac, I met the ever vigilant General Liddell, commanding a division in our front line, who was awaiting the General to report that his pickets this morning discovered the enemy had retreated during the night from his immediate front. Instructions were promptly given to push forward our whole line of skirmishers to the front, and I moved to the



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