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[205] navigable for vessels engaged in conveying supplies to the army; but the drought would put the roads in excellent condition for vehicles. Everything, therefore, was in favor of prompt and vigorous action. But Halleck divided his army, and, notwithstanding the resources he had at his disposal, allowed his adversaries to forestall him everywhere.

The Columbus Railroad was again with much trouble put in order, so as to connect Corinth directly with that depot, situated on the Mississippi. Sherman was directed to open communications with Memphis by restoring the western section of the Charleston line. The army of the Ohio left Corinth on the 10th of June, and Buell was ordered to proceed with it in the direction of Chattanooga, where Mitchell was beginning to be sorely pressed; but this movement was slowly executed.

Sherman, at the head of his own division and that of Hurlbut, proceeded toward Memphis, dropping detachments of troops as far as Holly Springs to cover his left flank. The rebuilding of the Mobile Railway, which had been completely destroyed by the enemy, was a considerable undertaking. Begun on the 9th of June, it was only finished on the 26th.

The Confederates had profited by this delay. The new general-in-chief, Braxton Bragg, had boldly divided his army and abandoned the position of Tupelo, which Halleck still believed him to occupy. He had determined to cover at once the two points we have already indicated as being of the greatest importance for the future of the war, Chattanooga and Vicksburg.

He proceeded toward the first with all the old army of Johnston, consisting of the corps of Hardee and Polk, as rapidly as the difficulties of communication in that portion of the Southern States allowed. He had the merit and good fortune to reach Chattanooga before Buell. It was not too soon, for a few days previous, the 7th of June the Federal general Negley, with his single brigade and some cannon, had nearly taken possession of this city by surprise. Bragg found it of great advantage to transfer the war to the vicinity of Chattanooga. Master of this position, indeed, he could menace either Tennessee or Kentucky, Nashville or Louisville, and wrest from the Federals all the conquests they had achieved during the last few months by taking

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