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[479] assume the offensive at the southern extremity of their line; beaten in two bloody encounters, they were not even able to prevent Grant from sending reinforcements to Buell, which, by giving him a great numerical superiority, ensured the success of the Perryville campaign. But shortly after, the Federals committed the same mistake, and also divided their forces in order to advance by the Vicksburg road and that of Chattanooga at the same time. We have already seen how this error caused the reverse sustained by Grant on the Yallabusha. We shall show the danger to which it exposed the army of Rosecrans, on the other hand, and the helpless condition to which the latter was reduced, after having escaped the danger by a dearly-bought success. At the time of which we are speaking, the two armies, one of which was entering Tennessee after the battle of Perryville and the other of which had been repelling the attacks against Iuka and Corinth, were therefore closely connected. They covered each other mutually, and Grant could not be at ease regarding his rear in Western Tennessee, unless Nashville should be occupied by friendly forces. Consequently, as we have elsewhere observed, Rosecrans' first thought, on assuming the command of the army, was to relieve the small garrison stationed in that city.

In order to follow him, we must take up the thread of our narrative from the end of October—that is to say, two months before the sanguinary reverse of Chickasaw Bayou. The army, which had just conquered at Perryville, was at last about to enter the State of Tennessee under its new chief. At this juncture it dropped the name of the army of the Ohio, as if to show its determination henceforth to leave that river far behind, and assumed the more appropriate designation of the army of the Cumberland. The new recruits it had found at Louisville had raised its nominal force to nearly one hundred thousand men, but the long marches through a country destitute of water soon increased the number of sick and stragglers; ten thousand men in the hospitals, twenty-three thousand absent either with or without leave, reduced the number of soldiers present for active service to sixtyfive thousand. Rosecrans retained the division of his forces into three army corps, designated as the right wing, the centre and the left wing. The old centre, comprising three divisions, became

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