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[384] flank of the Federals, while Kirby Smith was to go out of the city and check their progress in front. But Polk, being no doubt better informed, and knowing that the whole Federal army was approaching, had the good sense not to execute the dangerous movement he had been ordered to make, and adhered to the letter of his original instructions; these directed him not to risk a general engagement, and in case of necessity to retire toward Bryantsville, a village situated a little to the east of Duck River, from which he could easily defend the precipitous banks of that stream. Polk had the more easily guessed Buell's plan, because this plan was in itself simple and well conceived. In fact, instead of going to strike the line of the Kentucky River, the Federals, by marching direct upon Frankfort, had only to bear to the right to menace Bragg's communications, draw him upon Duck River, and thus compel him to abandon Frankfort, Lexington and the richest portion of the State, without a fight. The two railway lines from Bardstown and Lebanon afforded them easy means of transportation in that direction. They could, in short, if necessary, extend their flank movement across the mountainous country in which Duck River takes its rise.

The most direct road from Bardstown to Bryantsville passes through Macksville and Harrodsburg; another, more to the south, goes through Springfield, Perryville and Danville; other roads still, coming from the north and the south, meet at Harrodsburg. Polk reached this last village with his army corps on the 6th of October. That of Hardee, which had been sent by Bragg on the most southern of these roads, at the time when Polk had been called back to Frankfort, was that day encamped in the vicinity of Perryville; he there found—a great blessing at that season of the year—copious springs of water, around which he had vainly requested Bragg to concentrate his army. Kirby Smith was in the neighborhood of Frankfort, and had written to his chief that a considerable portion of the enemy's army was in front of him. Hardee, on his side, felt closely pressed, and communicated the fact to headquarters. Troubled by these contradictory reports, Bragg imagined that his adversary was marching toward him on a front of one hundred kilometres, and that his columns were spaced along parallel roads from Lebanon on the

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Leonidas Polk (4)
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