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 army first; and whatever might be the issue of the battle, it was better for the Federals that the struggle should take place at the commencement of the campaign. Rosecrans selected the moment to take the field when he saw Morgan and Forrest both engaged far away from Murfreesborough, because their absence deprived the Confederates of their superiority in cavalry, which had proved hitherto so useful to them. Bragg had not changed his position. Polk's corps and three brigades of Breckenridge's division of Hardee's corps were at Murfreesborough; the remainder of the latter corps, comprising a brigade of Breckenridge and the division of Cheatham, formed the left wing, which was stationed at Eagleville, about thirty-two kilometres west-south-west of Murfreesborough, on the road from Nashville to Shelbyville; the right wing was placed at Readsville, twenty kilometres east of that point, and consisted of Mc-Cown's division, detached from Smith's corps. These two wings were thus slightly refused. But on the left Hardee had sent from Eagleville, on the Nashville road, a division charged to watch the Federals; it was posted near the village of Triune, and occupied Nolensville, a little beyond that point. The outposts, which were advancing as close to Nashville as possible, were ordered to fall back in case the Federal army assumed the offensive. The latter was put in march by three different roads, leading from Nashville in a south-easterly and southerly direction. The right wing, under Thomas, took the Franklin road; McCook, with the centre, that of Nolensville; and Crittenden, on the left, that of Murfreesborough. The right and left thus flanked the position occupied by Hardee at Triune, ready to unite in a combined attack upon him if he sought to hold that position. If he should fall back upon the remainder of the enemy's army, Thomas and McCook were both to bear to the left and approach the road, followed by Crittenden, in order to present themselves simultaneously with him before Stone River, a small stream which covers Murfreesborough, and on the borders of which Bragg could not fail to stop if he desired to defend those cantonments. The last conjecture proved to be correct. McCook encountered Hardee's pickets a short distance from Nashville, and his heads
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