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[529] Federal left wing, and had also captured a considerable number of prisoners on the Nashville road. These raids had entirely interrupted the transportation of provisions, and the soldiers who on this mournful evening gathered around the bivouac-fires, counting the number of comrades either dead or wounded, whom they had left among the thick bushes of the cedar wood, anxiously asked each other what the next day would bring forth. No rations were distributed; and what alarmed them most in this want of provisions and ammunition was the idea they had formed that the army was surrounded and separated from its base of operations. In short, with the exception of the two brigades of Walker and Starkweather, which had rejoined the army at the close of the day, there was not a single regiment but what had been seriously engaged, and no assistance from any fresh troops could be relied upon for the morrow. More than seven thousand men were missing at roll-call; Sheridan had lost one-third of his division; two division generals, Wood and Van Cleve, were wounded; three brigade commanders, Sill, Schaeffer and Roberts, had been killed; a fourth, Kirk, was wounded, and a fifth, Willich, taken prisoner. The anxiety of those in command was equal to that felt by the soldiers, but they had already passed through the ordeal of war, and were accustomed from their prairie life to struggle obstinately against all difficulties; in short, they had a commander who fully understood that in certain situations the rashest course in appearance is often the least dangerous. ‘Gentlemen,’ said he to his generals as soon as they were assembled inside of his tent, ‘we will conquer or die here.’ In refusing to consider himself as vanquished, Rosecrans made sure of victory almost without any further effort on his part. If, on the contrary, he had taken advantage of the night to retire, the battle of the 31st would have entailed upon him all the consequences of a crushing defeat.

Bragg counted upon this retreat; on finding himself in possession of one-third of the artillery and more than one-sixth of the effective force of the enemy's army in killed, wounded and prisoners, he could not believe that Rosecrans would seek to maintain himself in the positions to which he had been driven with the river at his back. He thought he had only to wait to

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