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[521] Federal army from an irreparable disaster. In fact, whilst Polk, who was obliged to charge Negley's and Palmer's positions in front, and across large open fields, was exhausting himself in fruitless efforts against them, Rosecrans formed a new line with his fresh troops from the left, which alone could enable him to check the victorious march of the foe. Sheridan, however, could not prolong his resistance in such a hazardous position. His soldiers were thinned out; they had seen their three brigade commanders fall successively, Roberts and Schaeffer having both been killed, as Sill had been an hour before; the enemy, no way discouraged by three fruitless attacks, still returned to the charge; in short, Wharton's cavalry having either captured or dispersed all the wagon-trains of McCook's corps, the ammunition was beginning to fail them. The time had arrived for yielding; Sheridan rallied around him the debris of his division, which left behind, on the ground so stubbornly disputed, and around the dismounted guns which could not be taken along, one thousand eight hundred men killed or wounded, and proceeded to re-form his lines in rear of the cedar wood.

Rosecrans, having at last posted the new troops he had collected, also found himself in this part of the battle-field; he at once ordered Rousseau to enter the wood, in order to prevent the enemy from taking his entire centre in reverse, and to cover Negley's right flank in the place of Sheridan. But the first named general had scarcely retired when the Confederates assailed the second on every side at once. The Federals, favored by the thickets, were able to open a passage for themselves at the point of the bayonet through the enemy's lines which surrounded them; they did not, however, get back to the plain without leaving a large number of prisoners in the enemy's hands.

Rousseau had formed his division in column on his right, in order to reach the position which had been assigned him, and he had hardly time to deploy his first brigade, when the latter met the enemy, to whom the retreat of Sheridan and Negley had imparted new ardor. This brigade, consisting of four battalions of regular infantry and the Fifteenth Kentucky, under command of Colonel Shepherd, opened its ranks to let the fugitives whom the enemy was driving before him pass, and steadily waited for the Confederate

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