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 Price's soldiers, long condemned to the hardest privations, found there all kinds of resources. But they were not destined to enjoy them long. Once master of this position, Price learnt that Rosecrans, instead of crossing the Tennessee to join Buell, was massing his forces at Corinth. He might have left him there and hastened to the north-west to attack Nashville, as Bragg had requested him to do, or to co-operate with Van Dorn to attempt to dislodge him. The latter plan, being the most feasible, was proposed to and accepted by Van Dorn on the 16th of September. Meanwhile, Grant was preparing to prevent the junction of these two generals by attacking Price in his advanced position. He had put all the troops at his disposal in motion, leaving behind him only a sufficient force for the protection of Corinth. Rosecrans brought him the divisions of Stanley and Hamilton, amounting altogether to about nine thousand men, while Ord arrived with nearly eight thousand taken from the army which occupied Bolivar and Jackson. His forces, therefore, were increased to seventeen thousand men in all; Price had only fourteen thousand. But instead of concentrating all his troops, Grant thought himself sufficiently strong to divide them and try to hem in his enemy in the village of Iuka. To effect this he ordered Rosecrans to quit the railway track, which led directly to this place, and to go round by way of Rienzi and Jacinto, so as to approach Price on the south and cut his natural line of retreat. In the mean while, Ord was to come up by way of the north-west, and to attack Price north of the town. In a region the topography of which was so little known, where the roads became broken up at the first rainfall, and the streams, the swamps and the forests combined to retard the movements of armies, and communications between headquarters were extremely uncertain, such a manoeuvre, undertaken in the presence of so active an adversary as Price, was full of danger. The result was soon to prove it so. On the 18th of September, Rosecrans was in the vicinity of Jacinto; Grant was at Burnsville, on the road leading from Corinth to Inka, waiting to hear that his lieutenant had executed the movement he had ordered him to make; farther on, on the same
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