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[302] situation; certainly it was the best opportunity afforded during the war to destroy an army in detail.

On September 13th the Federal army was posted as follows:

McCook's 20th Corps, 14,345 effectives and 54 cannon, near Alpine, Ga.

Thomas' 14th Corps, 24,072 effective and 72 cannon, in front of Stevens' Gap, and Crittenden's Corps, 13,975 effective and 48 cannon, west of Lee and Gordon's Mills. Total, 52,392 infantry, 177 guns and 8,000 cavalry, making an effective force of more than 600,000 men, while a division of Gordon Granger's Corps was at Shell Mound. General Bragg's force consisted of Polk's Corps, 12,027 strong; D. H. Hill, 11,972; Buckner, 11,029; 150 cannon and 7,500 cavalry. Total, 42,528.

It will be noted that General Bragg made no effort to destroy either of the separated Federal forces.

By the 18th of September General Rosecrans had brought together in the Chickamauga valley, southward of Lee and Gordon's Mills, the bulk of his army, while General Bragg had, as before stated, concentrated his army about Lafayette.

On September 19, General Bragg decided to take the offensive. Bushrod Johnson was ordered to take the iniative with his division by crossing the Chickamauga at Reed's bridge, about four or five miles from Lee and Gordon's Mills, and move southward against his enemy, while Walker, with his division, was to cross at Alexander's bridge, and support Johnson.

Buckner's Corps crossed at Tedford's Ford, still nearer the enemy's position, while Hill was to cover the left flank against any operation the Federals might make from that direction.

Johnson began the movement early on Friday morning with four brigades, while Forrest covered his flanks and front.

Forrest came in contact with the Federal cavalry at Keller's Mill and pressed them back to Reed's bridge, where there was sharp fighting before the infantry arrived. Two brigades (Law's and Robertson's), commanded by General Hood, soon re-enforced Johnson.

Buckner, as instructed, marched from Lafayette, and approaching Tedford's and Dalton's Fords, late in the afternoon, seized the hills commanding both fords, where he planted his batteries to cover the crossing. Polk's Corps, in the meantime (Hindman's and Cheatham's Divisions) had taken position nearly opposite Lee and Gordon's Mills.

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