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[141] of the plucky Pat. Cleburne, who seemed from the first to feel that he had found a soldier-affinity in the congenial spirit of Hill. When at last the scattered hosts had concentrated and confronted each other on the Chickamauga, it was not till after the night of the first day that Bragg made public his purpose to give the entire management of the right wing to Polk and the control of the left to Longstreet. If the enemy's left under the stalwart Thomas could be driven from the Lafayette road, the communication with Chattanooga would be cut off and the retreat and ruin of the enemy inevitable. To accomplish this end Bragg seemed more intent on hurried, than concentrated effort. That grand man, officer and statesman, John C. Breckinridge, at his own request was allowed to take the extreme right, flanked by Forrest and supported in this forward movement by Cleburne on the left. Stewart, having been transferred to Buckner, these two divisions constituted Hill's corps. In rear of the line from which Breckinridge and Cleburne moved to the attack, at nine in the morning, on the last decisive day, was the corps of the old veteran known as ‘Fighting Bill’ Walker, and as eager for the fray as a school-boy for frolic. His command was composed of his own and Liddell's divisions, embracing six brigades led by such dashing soldiers as Ector, Gist and Walthall. But the first lesson learned by a staff officer, who went from the east to the west, was that even an old war-horse like Walker dared not to fire a gun or move an inch, acting upon his own best judgment, without an order brought with due formality through all of the regular channels. The Virginia Brigadier struck his blows where opportunity offered, and reported to his superior that he was striking. The western Brigadier lost his opportunity to strike, waiting for permission to do so. Still, behind Walker stood Frank Cheatham with his splendid division, like their leader, chafing under restraint.

Such were the dispositions in Hill's rear when the impetuous charge of Breckinridge's two right brigades broke the left of Thomas and crossed the fateful road. With 2,000 infantry and a battery of artillery Breckinridge swung his line around at a right angle to that of the enemy and started to sweep down upon their flank; but the left of Breckinridge had encountered an earthwork, as had Cleburne's whole line, and their western foe standing firm, one or two brigades gave way. Another advancing line to fill the gap and the day would be won before noon, and the enemy driven across the Tennessee or

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