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[478]

Chapter 2:

The partisans.

SINCE the capture of Fort Donelson, the Federals had occupied the central portion of the State of Tennessee. The Confederates, who had once before made an unsuccessful attempt during the short campaign of Shiloh to wrest it from them, believed themselves for a brief season masters of it when Bragg invaded Kentucky. The city of Nashville, owing to the stubborn resistance of its garrison, had alone escaped; the surrounding country had been given over to incursions of their cavalry, which had cut all the railroads connecting the Federal armies stationed near the Mississippi with the Northern States, leaving them only the course of this river itself through which to obtain their supplies.

Buell's army, now commanded by Rosecrans, and that of Grant, were, in a strategic point of view, but the two wings of a single army, designed to operate between the Mississippi and the Alleghanies. They were dependent upon each other, as the troops of Price and Van Dorn, which the Confederates had left before Corinth, were connected, despite the distance, with those that had invaded Kentucky under Bragg. The Richmond authorities had committed a serious error in thus dividing their forces. If, instead of fighting the fruitless battles of Iuka and Corinth, and massing a large army under Pemberton in front of Grant, they had left the task of harassing the latter entirely to their cavalry, and had given two or three additional divisions to Bragg, this general would undoubtedly have occupied Louisville, and probably destroyed Buell's army on Green River. The forces of Price and Van Dorn, too numerous to remain on the defensive, were not sufficient to enable the Confederates successfully to

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