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[500] of column took possession of Nolensville after a sharp engagement, in which they lost seventy-five men, and at the end of which they captured one gun. McCook continued his march, but was delayed by a thick fog, and did not reach Triune until the 27th. Hardee had left this village the day before, and all his army corps was already far advanced on the road to Murfreesborough. Crittenden on the left, advancing slowly, so as to allow McCook time to feel the enemy, reached Lavergne on the evening of the 26th, after exchanging a few musket-shots with the enemy's skirmishers. The next day he reached Stewart's Creek, and his cavalry, by a bold manoeuvre, succeeded in carrying the bridge thrown across this water-course before the Confederate brigade entrusted with its defence was able to destroy it. Thomas, on the right, finding no one in front of him, approached the other two corps; one of his divisions, under Negley, joined Crittenden at Stewart's Creek on the 27th; the other, under Rousseau, encamped on that day at Nolensville.

On the 28th the whole of the Confederate army was united in the neighborhood of Murfreesborough; according to Bragg's report, it only numbered thirty-five thousand combatants all told. Three brigades of infantry, three batteries of artillery and four or five thousand horse had remained behind for the purpose of watching the Federals and delaying their movements by fighting them in detail. Rosecrans was obliged to grant complete rest to the greater part of his troops during that day; if he had led them as far as Murfreesborough without interrupting their march, he would have exposed himself to the necessity of fighting with fatigued troops, and his wagon-trains would have stuck in the mud in the cross-roads, which the torrents of rain had broken up under the soldiers' feet. He had, in fact, but a single railway, that which Crittenden had followed from Nashville, by which to approach Murfreesborough. The other two corps, in their efforts to concentrate, had struck into bad roads, which it was frequently necessary to widen at the expense of the thick brushwood by which they were bordered, thereby greatly delaying the march.

As the Federals were approaching Murfreesborough, it is proper that we should devote a few words to describing the ground the possession of which was to be so obstinately disputed.

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