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[383] of Duck River the Kentucky is a stream of considerable size. These two water-courses, therefore, constitute an obstacle, which traverses the whole State in a direct line from south to north, dividing it into two almost equal parts. Bragg might hope to preserve this line; but as it was very much extended, he should have gone to meet his adversary, in order to ascertain his intentions, so as not to be taken by surprise, and this is what he failed to do, notwithstanding the slowness with which the Federal troops were advancing, nearly one-half of whom were not broken in to marching.

The Union general had designated Bardstown, where Polk had left his rear-guard whilst Bragg was marching upon Lexington, as a rendezvous for the various columns which had left Louisville. Only one Federal division, that of Sill, detached from McCook's corps, proceeded in the direction of Lexington to cover the left of the army. An extraordinary drought prevailed at that period in Kentucky; the streams, generally so full in those wooded regions, only presented here and there pools of stagnant water to the soldier parched with thirst from the heat and dust. For the first time we see the scarcity of water becoming a subject of serious anxiety to combatants in America. The march of the Federals was considerably delayed by it, and they only reached the vicinity of Bardstown on the 4th of October, the possession of which the parties of cavalry that had been watching them showed no disposition to dispute.

This was the day fixed for the installation of the new secessionist governor of Kentucky at Frankfort; Kirby Smith was there with his corps; Bragg had come in person. But at the very moment of the ceremony, some scouts who had encountered Sill's troops arrived with the announcement that the whole Federal army was marching upon that capital. Every man ran to his post, the solemnity was interrupted, and whilst they were preparing for battle the new functionary, already forgotten, sadly took the road to Lexington. The same road was soon to lead him out of the State he had aspired to govern.

Convinced for several days past that Buell would march upon Frankfort, Bragg had sent Polk, who had remained in the vicinity of Bardstown, an order to proceed northward to attack the

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