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[503] on the other side of the river, when, falling upon the outposts of Breckenridge's division, he surprised one regiment, which he put to flight after capturing some prisoners. The statements made by these prisoners, however, showed that Bragg's army, far from thinking of retreat, was entirely massed between the Federals and Murfreesborough, and Harker, glad that he had not advanced farther, took advantage of the increasing darkness to recross Stone River. He fell back toward the bivouac-fires of Crittenden's corps, who had massed his three divisions, with that of Negley, on the right and left of the road, at about seven hundred metres from the positions occupied by the enemy.

On the evening of the 29th the Federal army was therefore divided into two sections, which were separated by a considerable interval. Crittenden's corps and Negley's division, from twenty-two to twenty-three thousand men, were in presence of the Confederates on the Nashville and Murfreesborough road, Rousseau's division having remained on Stewart's Creek, about twelve kilometres behind. The other body of troops consisted of McCook's divisions, which had halted at Wilkinson's Cross-roads, about three kilometres on this side of Overall's Creek, the bridge over which was in Palmer's hands, and eight kilometres from Crittenden's troops. The position of the four divisions which found themselves alone facing Bragg was not without danger. In fact, on the evening of the 29th, the whole Confederate army was under arms, ready for fight and massed within a narrow space in front of Murfreesborough. Its camps had been struck, its barracks abandoned, and all its materiel, collected around the Murfreesborough station, could be speedily loaded to follow its movements. Hardee's corps was on the right bank of Stone River, Breckenridge occupying the front line in the positions that Harker had reconnoitred, with Cleburne behind him. Polk's corps occupied the left bank; Withers' division, placed in front, because it had not been engaged since the battle of Shiloh, rested on the river, lay across the railroad and the turnpike, a little above the point of intersection of these two lines of communication, and extended southward across the Wilkinson road; it thus formed on that side a sinuous line, adapted to the irregularities of ground, which stretched as far as the Franklin road. Cheatham's division

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