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[213] corps, to secure that massing of troops, those weighty blows which achieve decisive victories. Though, indeed, there were far too many stragglers who ignobly shrunk from the victorious edge of battle, many going back even to Corinth that night, yet everywhere there was the largest measure of steady fighting by regiments, brigades and parts of divisions. Notwithstanding the wreck of Sherman's, Prentiss' and McClernand's Divisions now crowded back upon the line of Wallace's (W. H. L.) and Hurlbut's Divisions—that is to say, a short line scarcely a mile from the river—and though the corps of Hardee, Bragg and Polk, with Breckinridge not far off, were in their immediate front, there was no concerted concentration of these triumphant corps respectively, much less of the whole mass, for a well-timed, overwhelming blow at the now sorely crippled, dispirited enemy. And as a consequence, with Sherman among them doing all possible in the exigency, the Federals were enabled to protract their defense against the desultory onsets with which thy were assailed for the next hour or two.

During the occurrences which we have related, Colonel N. B. Forrest had thrown his regiment of cavalry, as soon as he heard the inauguration of the battle, across Lick Creek, and, pressing up, held it on the Confederate right flank, ready for orders, for which he sent at once to the commander-in-chief.

About 11 o'clock the enemy, as we have seen, having been forced back to their second line, he received an order to move his regiment onward to the front. This he executed at a gallop. Not finding the general there, or further orders, he pushed ahead to the point where the infantry seemed most obstinately engaged. It was near the center of the line, and on reaching the scene, Forrest found that Cheatham's Division had just received a temporary check.

With his wonted impatience of the least delay, Forrest at once proposed to Cheatham to join in an immediate charge across an open field in their front. To this, Cheatham, whose men for several hours previously had been breasting a tempest of artillery and musketry fire, demurred for the moment, as his men required some rest. Forrest's men, being mounted, were nearly as much exposed to an annoying fire where they stood–a fair mark—as in a charge, and Forrest determined to make one.

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