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[393] easily defended by a simple rear-guard. It was impossible for the entire Federal army to venture into these defiles. Crittenden alone continued the pursuit as far as Loudon and Manchester, without succeeding in overtaking Bragg, who day by day left him a little farther in the rear. It became at last necessary to turn and bring back the army to the vicinity of railroads, without which it could not procure supplies. By using these railroads it would be able to reach the State of Tennessee, which Bragg was re-entering by way of Knoxville, sooner than by crossing the mountains of Southern Kentucky on foot.

The Federals had retained possession of Nashville, but it was by abandoning to the Confederates all the country east of this city. The latter had repaired the railway track from Chattanooga to Murfreesborough; by this means Bragg, once in Knoxville, could easily, as will be presently seen, bring his army into the heart of Tennessee, the capital of which he soon menaced. He thus compelled the army of the Ohio to concentrate itself around Nashville. The greater portion of this army returned to Lebanon, one division of Crittenden's corps passing through Somerset, Columbia and Glasgow. Bowling Green was the first point at which they were to meet, and the principal depot. The army arrived at this place between the 26th and 30th of October, about the same time that Bragg reached Knoxville. The immense wagon-train carrying its provisions, ammunition and materiel of every description, extending for a distance of twenty-four kilometres, soon joined it. Buell, justly supposing that so rich a prey would afford a temptation to Confederate partisans, had taken good care to deceive them as to the direction of this convoy; and instead of letting it follow the same road as the army, he had caused it to move more to westward, through Elizabethtown and Munfordsville. The cavalry brigade of Colonel McCook, escorting the convoy, had the good fortune to capture a detachment of three hundred mounted men of the enemy on the road. After their bloody encounter at Perryville, the two adversaries had therefore suddenly turned their backs upon each other. They made each on its side, in order to reach the railway lines, an immense detour, which was some time after to bring them upon a battle-field far remote from the preceding one.

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