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 Cleburne was wounded, and his troops began to waver. But at this moment the Federal right gave way before Churchill. Cruft, who had just arrived with one regiment and two batteries, tried in vain to repair this reverse. Manson was obliged to weaken his left. Preston Smith, who had succeeded Cleburne in command of his division, took advantage of this to resume once more the offensive. The Federals were short of cartridges, their boxes were empty, they could no longer hold the positions, which the chances of the march had enabled them to occupy without having time to establish themselves firmly. At last Manson ordered a retreat toward Rogersville, but his soldiers could not keep their ranks, and the remainder of Cruft's brigade, which might have rendered great service if it had arrived sooner, struggled in vain to cover their rout. At last the Federals formed again at Rogersville behind some hedges and along the woods near the causeway; they steadily waited for the enemy, whose attacks they resisted for nearly an hour, but their right wing was finally broken. Again falling back in great haste, they reached Richmond, where Nelson, who had hastened from Lexington, endeavored to organize a last effort at resistance; this time the Union soldiers did not stand for more than a quarter of an hour before the Confederates, who in a single day and through three battles had overcome the enormous distance between Big Hill and Richmond. The debris of the small Federal army were then thrown into a frightful state of confusion, and the disorder was increased by the precipitate flight of the cavalry. The convoy of the army, which had been sent some time before to Lexington, was soon joined. The exhausted enemy had given up the pursuit, but a long train of fugitives was still hurrying in the direction of Lexington. Suddenly it wavered and halted, a few musket-shots had been heard in advance, and the fatal cry, ‘We are cut off!’ passed rapidly from mouth to mouth. It was Kirby Smith's cavalry coming to complete the disaster of the Federals. Colonel Scott, who was in command, had started in the morning, confidently relying upon the success of his comrades, and by making a large circuit across fields he had succeeded in placing himself on the other side of Richmond, on the line of retreat of the vanquished. While Nelson, severely wounded in the last battle, succeeded in escaping,
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