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[508] 30th. Hardee, leaving Breckenridge alone on the right bank of Stone River, had, as we have said, crossed over to the left with Cleburne's division, and placing it behind that of McCown had taken command of these two united divisions. On the evening of the 30th, therefore, the Confederate army occupied the following positions: Breckenridge on the right, on the other side of Stone River; Polk in the centre, between the river and the Wilkinson road, with Withers' division in first line and that of Cheatham in second line; Hardee on the left, with McCown's and Cleburne's divisions under his orders; the first, two brigades of which had gone to the front, extended to the Franklin road, which gradually draws nearer to the other two roads; the second had remained in its positions, and found itself in the rear a little to the right of the latter. The convergence of the three roads had enabled the Confederates to mass their centre and left upon two lines separated by an interval of from seven to eight hundred metres; but in proportion as their movement developed itself, they were to deploy and occupy a more extended front. McCown, whose pickets were facing those of Johnson and Davis, was ordered to follow the Franklin road to attack the extreme Federal right, whilst Cleburne, after marching in his rear, was to deploy on his right as soon as the success of this attack had uncovered McCook's centre. Polk, with his two divisions, was to take the offensive at the same time. Breckenridge, remaining in the positions entrusted to him, held himself ready to forward reinforcements to the rest of the line. Pegram's brigade of cavalry scouted the Lebanon road on the extreme right, along which it was thought that bodies of troops belonging to the enemy had been seen; Wharton's brigade extended to the left beyond the line occupied by McCown. Finally, Wheeler's, as we have already mentioned, had started on the evening of the 29th for the purpose of cutting off Rosecrans' communications with Nashville. By this great movement by conversion from right to left, Bragg was in hopes of pushing the enemy's army into the north-west angle of the plateau, and forcing it into a corner between Stone River and Overall's Creek.

On the 31st of December, 1862, during a calm and mild morning, Van Cleve's division, of Crittenden's corps, had been engaged

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