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[380] the city against a serious attack, and Kirby Smith needed no reinforcement to take possession of it.

On the other hand, the position of Buell's army afforded Bragg an opportunity for attempting a much more important and promising operation than the capture of a defenceless city. This army had just made very long marches, was short of rations, and felt itself cut off; it was, therefore, in the worst condition for fighting a battle, which, however, it could not possibly avoid. Bragg, by imitating the successful manoeuvres of Lee, had turned his adversary: by attacking him during his precipitate retreat, he could have achieved a decisive victory; but he failed to avail himself of this opportunity. After the capitulation of Munfordsville, he left on Green River a simple rear-guard, which Buell's heads of column dislodged from Prewitt's Knob (or Glasgow Junction) on the 20th of September, and scattered his troops through the country to take possession of it, to install the authorities devoted to his cause, and, above all, to gather the largest possible amount of booty. He thus slowly advanced in a northerly direction, loading his wagons not only with provisions, but with commodities of every kind, followed by immense droves of cattle, providing fresh horses for his cavalry, and collecting a large number of recruits among the young farmers of those regions. Being chiefly anxious to secure to the already impoverished Confederacy the product of this great raid, he no longer thought of leading his brave soldiers to meet an enemy whom he almost held within his grasp. Master of Salt River, which runs from south-east to north-west, and on the borders of which he could compel Buell to fight an offensive battle, he hastened, on the contrary, to abandon its banks and fall back upon Bardstown. He thus left the direct road to Louisville, which was only fifty kilometres distant, and allowed the Union army quietly to enter that city. Leaving Polk with his corps stationary at Bardstown, he bore to the right, turning his back upon Ohio, and marched through Harrodsburg upon Lexington, which he entered with Hardee's corps on the 1st of October, having thus taken sixteen days to march less than two hundred kilometres. The two Confederate armies which had started, the one from Chattanooga, the other from Knoxville, to rendezvous in Kentucky, were thus at last united. But this

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