War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0623 Chapter XXXV. THE MIDDLE TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN.

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soon as Hardee's train is out of the way. This will be notified to you, but will most probably be about 10 p. m. to-night.

Respectfully,

W. W. MACKALL,

Chief of Staff.

At 5 p. m. his train was drawn out ready for a move, and at 7 the whole train started for Allisona by different roads.

At 11 p. m. the general and staff, at the head of his column, started for Allisona, and reached that place at 5 a. m. on Wednesday, July 1, 1863. By 12 m. the train and troops had all arrived. The general received the following:

DECHERD.

General POLK:

Cross all your command; take position to defend the crossing for cavalry on dirt road bridges; destroy railroad bridges thoroughly, superstructure and piers; send train here, and ride over yourself.

BRAXTON BRAGG.

And issued this:

HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS,

Allisona, July 1, 1863.

Major-General CHEATHAM:

GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs that you assume the immediate command of his troops here, and at once take necessary steps to carry into execution the instructions contained in the following telegram from General Bragg, to wit:

DECHERD.

Cross all your command; take position to defend the crossing for cavalry on dirt road bridges; destroy railroad bridges thoroughly, superstructure and piers; send trains here, and ride over yourself.

Most respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

THOMAS M. JACK,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Having received the following dispatch from General Mackall:

DECHERD, [July] 1, [1863]-7 p. m.

GENERAL: The enemy have reached your front; close up. The question to be decided instantly, Shall we fight on the Elk, or take post at foot of mountain at Cowan? Answer.

W. W. MACKALL,

Chief of Staff.

The general returned this answer:

ALLISONA, July 1, 1863.

General MACKALL:

You ask, "Shall we fight on the Elk, or take post at foot of mountain at Cowan?" I reply, take post at foot of mountain at Cowan. In that case I think as much of our wagon train as possible should be thrown over the mountain, and supplied of grain ordered up by railroad for animals which we must retain on this side.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

The following wee received from General Hardee:

[Confidential.]

HEADQUARTERS, July 1, 1863-8.30 p. m.

Lieutenant-General POLK:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have been thinking seriously of the condition of affairs with this army. I deeply regret to see General Bragg in his present enfeebled state of health. If we have a fight, he is evidently unable either to examine and determine his line of battle or to take command on the field. What shall we do? What is best to be done to save this army and its honor? I think we ought to counsel together. Where is Buckner? The enemy evidently believes we are retreating, and will press us vigorously to-morrow. When can we meet? I would like Buckner to be present.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,

W. J. HARDEE,

Lieutenant-General.