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[486] which had already so many times paralyzed its operations. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, destroyed during the fall, was at last, after much labor, about to be put again in running order along the whole line. The completion of this line would render Rosecrans once more free in his movements; but it was above all necessary to protect him against new devastations.

The skirmishing warfare, which had been interrupted for a short time, was resumed during the latter part of November. On the 10th a detachment of Federal infantry repelled at Rural Hill, east of Nashville, the attack of a body of guerillas which had tried to capture a convoy destined for the left wing of the army. A few days later, Morgan, having sent part of his cavalry on a reconnaissance along the right bank of the Cumberland, was attacked by Colonel Kennett, who captured all the booty which the Confederates had collected, and drove them to the other side of the river. On the 27th, this same Colonel Kennett, crossing over to the left bank, defeated a Texas regiment which had ventured as far as the vicinity of Nashville, and pursued it toward Franklin, in Tennessee. In short, on the same day several brigades of Federal infantry, leaving their camps near that city, made a forward movement in the direction of Murfreesborough. General Kirk dislodged Wheeler from Lavergne; Sheridan and Colonel Roberts drove the Confederates back upon Nolensville and the Charlotteville turnpike; finally, Colonel Hill had a successful engagement near Hartsville, on the Cumberland, with a party of Confederate troopers who had captured a Federal convoy.

On perceiving these movements, which denoted fresh activity and improved organization on the part of the Federals, Morgan could not remain inactive. He took the field, and commenced his operations by one of those fortunate bold strokes which he knew so well how to conceive, and always executed with so much audacity. The Federal division of Dumont, of Thomas' corps, was stationed at Gallatin and in the village of Castalian Springs, where it covered the right bank of the Cumberland. In order to accomplish his task most thoroughly, Dumont sent about two thousand men, under Colonel Moore, to occupy Hartsville, an important crossing of the Cumberland, of which the Confederates had already many times availed themselves in their incursions on

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