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[497] its losses in men, arms and materiel. From that moment the Federals had nothing else to do but return as quickly as possible into Kentucky. They accomplished this difficult retreat successfully, the Confederates having no force in the neighborhood capable of resisting them. On the 31st of December, when they recrossed the Hobston River at Kingsport, they had but a few shots to fire, and on the 2d of January, 1863, Carter, crossing the Cumberland Mountains, re-entered a friendly region with all his troops. He had left behind him a considerable number of dead and lame horses, but the dismounted troopers had followed their comrades on foot; and the expedition, after having accomplished seven hundred and fifty kilometres in nine days, had only lost two men killed, five wounded and fifteen prisoners. The charm which hitherto seemed to have paralyzed the Federal army was broken. Carter had opened the way in which Streight, Grierson, Kautz, Kilpatrick, Stoneman and Sheridan were to follow him, not without glory, although with varied fortunes.

The recital of these preliminary operations was necessary in order to exhibit the great war which engages our attention in all its aspects. We may now resume the narrative of the more important events of which, at the same period, the banks of Stone River were the theatre.

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