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[387] right was formed by two of Rousseau's brigades, first Lyttle's, then Harris', which occupied corn-fields intersected by hedges and interspersed with numerous barns; a long and narrow strip of underwood, reaching down to the edge of Chaplin's Creek, and connecting with the Perryville woods on the other side, separated the left of Harris from the right of Jackson's division. The latter was drawn up in two lines, Terrill's brigade in front and Webster's in reserve. Finally, the extremity of the ridge which separates the two streams, sloping gradually down, was occupied by Starkweather's brigade, which, having struck across the fields in its early morning march, was placed a little en potence for fear of being flanked by the enemy under cover of the surrounding woods.

It was two o'clock in the afternoon. At this moment one of those harmless cannonades so frequent in the American army commenced, but it failed to disturb the repose which both armies were taking. While the soldiers were seeking shade or sleep, groups of officers were watching the course of the shells, the white smoke of which was slowly dissolving in the serene atmosphere of that autumnal day. The corps commanders were inspecting their lines, and already preparing for the movement projected for the morrow. They did not suspect that a splendid opportunity was that instant being lost. The well-conducted march of the Federals had, in fact, massed fifty-eight thousand men within reach of Perryville. On the other side of Chaplin's Creek was Hardee, with fifteen thousand men at the utmost. Cheatham's division, which was just arriving, only raised the number of his forces to twenty-two or twenty-three thousand men.1 If Buell had then put his three corps in motion and made the attack he contemplated for the following day, without a moment's delay, he would have had such a numerical superiority that all the valor of the Confederates could not have saved them, and Bragg would have paid very dear for the imprudence he had committed in dividing his forces. But Buell believed himself confronted by the enemy's whole army. The Confederates, through an opposite error, imagined they had only to deal with a single Union corps, and were anxious to provoke its attack.

1 See the reports of the situation in the Appendix.

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