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[53] and Foster, without more troops, did not venture to go so far to seek them.

The conquest of East Tennessee was accomplished: the Ninth corps, which on its arrival at Cincinnati on August 20th, numbered only six thousand men, almost all ill or worn out with fatigue, had rested and reorganized on the elevated plateaus of East Kentucky. The veteran soldiers had regained their health, new recruits had refilled the ranks of the first two divisions, while the third, under General Willcox, which had not accompanied them to Vicksburg, had joined them. The effective force of the corps was more than doubled, and toward the 10th of September this body was preparing to cross the mountains to swell Burnside's army.

What was going to be done with this army? We have said true military interest required that it should be sent without delay after Buckner: the cavalry would have covered Knoxville while waiting for the Ninth corps, which, in turn, would have taken the same road, leaving one division behind it. But General Halleck had other plans. As will be seen farther on, Chattanooga had fallen into the power of the Federals on the same day with Cumberland Gap: Rosecrans, dazzled by this great result so easily obtained, and deceived by the intelligence sent from Washington, had entertained illusions which Halleck, although he must have been better informed, had hastened to share. The latter, considering Bragg's army as out of the question, wrote on the 11th of September to Burnside that Rosecrans was going to occupy at Dalton the entrance to the great notch in the Alleghany Mountains. After having recommended to Burnside to put his cavalry in communication with that of the Army of the Cumberland, Halleck assigned to him the double task of occupying the passes in the Blue Ridge which lead into North Carolina and to close the upper part of the Holston Valley to the enemy's troops stationed in Virginia. That done, he added, it shall be decided whether the available forces of the two armies shall be directed against Georgia and Alabama or against Virginia and North Carolina. This last plan, which, if carried out, would have spared the vital parts of the Confederacy to bring the Union armies back to the most mountainous regions, was not adopted, fortunately

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