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 Whilst the greater part of Hardee's forces were being massed in the rear of Chalmers' brigades, Polk had crossed Green River, sixteen kilometres higher up, had descended the right bank, and had come to complete on that side the investment of the small garrison. To seize this prey, Bragg, following Lee's example at Harper's Ferry, did not hesitate to concentrate his army at the risk of an entire change in his order of march. To detain the Federals up to the moment when they could not escape, he ordered Hardee to attack the works on the west. The Confederates were repulsed, but the sacrifice of a few lives was not without its compensation. Bragg, being now certain of success, sent a flag of truce to Wilders, inviting him to come and see for himself the numerical superiority of the forces that were about to attack him on all sides; he even granted him a suspension of hostilities till evening—not a very dangerous concession, for he knew that Buell had not yet left Bowling Green. On the morning of the 17th the Federals, surrounded by more than twentyfive thousand men, capitulated with the honors of war, and were released on parole. They had bravely done their duty; their chiefs had left them without assistance or instructions; Buell had allowed Bragg to gain a sufficient advance to invest them; General Gilbert, who was in command at Louisville, had sent them just enough troops to aggravate the disaster; and whilst keeping up his telegraphic communications with them till the evening of the 15th, he had given them no orders for a retreat, which would have saved them. It is true that in sacrificing themselves they kept the whole of Bragg's forces on Green River for two days, when the existence of the Federal army depended upon the progress, more or less accelerated, of the latter. This was probably paying a moderate price for such a result; for the time consumed by the Confederates before Munfordsville enabled Buell to gain two marches on the road to Louisville. This rich and populous city, numbering more than seventy thousand inhabitants, was menaced on every side at once; it was the very day of the investment of Munfordsville that Heth, as we have seen, appeared before Cincinnati, and that the remainder of Kirby Smith's troops occupied Frankfort. The recruits, collected in haste, who crowded the streets, could not have protected
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