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[253] road. Wood, at the centre, was to support Smith's left, on the Hillsboroa road, and operate against the rebel advanced position on Montgomery Hill. Wilson was ordered to send one division of cavalry by the Charlotte road, to protect the right rear of the army, and with the remainder of his force, support the movement of Smith, while Schofield was still held somewhat in reserve, but instructed to cooperate with Wood, at the centre of the line. The plan was simple, but well designed; a heavy demonstration on the left, and under cover of this, a grand turning movement and assault from the right, supported by the centre and reserve. As in all of Thomas's operations, every commander had his work laid out, and every contingency was cared for in advance. He left nothing to chance. In the event of bad weather, the attack was to be still longer deferred.

On the morning of the 15th, however, the weather was favorable, and the troops were in motion at an early hour. The formations were partially concealed from the enemy by the broken nature of the ground, as well as by a dense fog, which hung close to the earth till noon. Under this double cover, Smith and Wilson advanced along the Charlotte and Hardin roads, Smith moving in echelon, so as to facilitate the turning movement, and Wilson on his right. As soon as these troops had taken position, Steedman was ordered to make his demonstration on the extreme left. He succeeded, with some difficulty and loss, in drawing the enemy's attention to that portion of the field; and when this was apparent, Smith and Wilson began the grand movement of the day,

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