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[527] guns, which at the same time inflicted great damage upon Polk's artillery.

The whole of Cleburne's division regained the wood in disorder, but in the mean time the Federal left wing was in the greatest danger. The brigades of Preston and Palmer of Breckenridge's division having arrived in their turn, Polk attacked Round Forest with renewed vigor. Fortunately, Rosecrans had sent Hascall's brigade in time to succor Hazen, and was himself encouraging by his presence the soldiers who so gallantly defended the key of his position. The Confederates did not tire of returning to dispute it at close quarters with the six thousand fresh troops that Breckenridge had brought upon the field of battle. Several regiments lost one-half of their number in a few minutes; but the Federal ranks were thinned off with equal rapidity, notwithstanding the reinforcements brought by isolated battalions re-formed by their respective chiefs from time to time. Rosecrans, always at the post of greatest danger, had just lost his chief of staff, Colonel Garesche, whose head was shot off by a cannon-ball. Nothing daunted by the danger, Rosecrans recommended his soldiers to fire low and close. ‘Some brave fellows must be sacrificed for the sake of victory,’ said this fervent Catholic; ‘cross yourselves and march forward.’ At last the Confederates stopped before a last discharge, still more destructive than those preceding. It was certainly not victory, but the salvation of the Federal army; not a breach had been made in its last positions when the battle suddenly ceased, just before night had spread her dark mantle over this field of carnage. Soon after dark the commanders rectified their positions on both sides. Rosecrans abandoned Round Forest in order to concentrate all his forces around the hill upon which Rousseau's artillery was posted. McCook's corps, which had been nearly reorganized, proceeded to occupy some of the points that Van Cleve had defended during the afternoon, so that the Federal line described a semicircle, resting on the left upon the river, and covering its line of retreat toward the north-west. The Confederates, on their side, drew back their left into the cedar wood. A profound silence, only interrupted by the plaintive groans of the wounded, prevailed along the line of the two armies, both exhausted by a strife of ten hours

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Rosecrans (4)
Leonidas Polk (2)
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