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[128]

Another council was held at General Johnston's tent that evening, which elicited the same views and same determination of General Johnston. At the dawn of day on the 6th of April as the troops were being put in motion, several of the Generals again met at the campfire of General Johnston. The discussion was renewed, General Beauregard still expressing his dissent, when rapid firing in front indicated that the attack had commenced, and General Johnston closed the discussion by saying:

“The battle has opened, gentlemen; it is too late to change our dispositions.” He proposed that all move to the front, and the Generals promptly rode to their commands. The front line of the Confederate army was composed of the 3d Corps and Gladden's Brigade under Hardee, extending from Owl to Lick creek, a distance of three miles. Hindman's Division occupied the center, Cleburne's Brigade on the left and Gladden's on the right, having an effective total of 9,024. The second line was commanded by Bragg with two divisions—Wither's and Ruggle's—Wither's on the right and Ruggle's on the left. This line was 10,731 strong. The third line, the reserve under Polk (the 1st Corps), with three brigades under Breckinridge. Polk's corps was massed in columns of brigades on the Bark Road, near Mickey's and Breckinridge's, on the road from Monterey toward the same point.

Polk was to advance on the left of the Park road, at an interval of eight hundred paces from Bragg's line, and Breckenridge to the right of that road was to give support whenever necessary. Polk's corps was composed of two divisions, Cheatham's on the left, and Clark's on the right, being an effective force of 9,136 men in infantry and artillery. It followed Bragg's line at an interval of eight hundred yards. Breckenridge's reserve was composed of Trabue's, Bowen's and Statham's brigades, with a total of infantry and artillery of 6,439 men. The cavalry, 4,300 strong, guarded the flanks. The total effective force of all armies was about 39,630.

The Federal army present was about 49,232, or present for duty, 39,830. At Crump's landing, six miles distant, General Lew Wallace had a force of 5,640 men. General Nelson's division, of Buell's army, arrived at Savannah on Saturday morning, and was about five miles distant; while Crittenden's division had arrived on the 6th.

The first gun of the battle was heard at 5 o'clock in the morning of the 6th, and General Johnston and staff at once mounted and rode to the front.

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