made about the same time by one of Wood
's brigades from the direction of Lee
and Gordon's Mills.
By noon of this day (13th), or soon after, any doubts that may have existed in the minds of the Confederate
commanders as to Crittenden
's real position were cleared away.
He was found at Gordon's Mills to the west of the Chickamauga
, who, at General Polk
's suggestion, had been moved up to support the expected attack, was then near by. This gave General Polk
a force of 26,000 men with which to advance upon his enemy; an enemy but four miles away, still isolated, and numbering but sixteen (16,000) thousand.
To complete the object of Polk
's march to Rock Spring
it was necessary for General Bragg
only to order him to cross the Chickamauga
and attack Crittenden
and Gordon's Mills.
But General Bragg
declined to order the movement.
The force to the south of Lafayette
—a force that then had no bearing on the situation in front of Rock Spring
, for it was hastily retracing its steps to join Thomas
, then on the top and sides of Lookout Mountain
awaiting its arrival—was still the disturbing element.
was therefore ordered to hold his position at Rock Spring
was ordered back to Lafayette
, and the Commanding General
departed for the same place later that afternoon.
Thus ended General Bragg
's sole effort to attack and destroy Crittenden
That the effort was a failure every man in that army knew, but who was to blame?
At the interview at Rock Spring
, General Bragg
, though expressing great disappointment, had not a word of censure to offer.
Later, reports began to circulate through the army that he blamed General Polk
, and when his official report appeared there was no longer a doubt as to his position.
He threw the blame on Polk
It was never communicated to General Polk
officially, and the report he never saw.
, in common with General Bragg
's friends, accepts General Bragg
's version, and in more than one history of this campaign, notably ‘Cists' Army of the Cumberland,’ a like view is expressed.
We have endeavored to meet the issue with all candor, but our story is not complete till we offer side by side the account of General Bragg
and that of General Crittenden
We give all in the reports that relates to the movement of the two forces during the period that covers General Polk
's responsibility; we ask the reader carefully to compare the extracts with what we have written and at the risk of repetition we beg to restate General Polk
They were to take position at Rock Spring
on the night of