the line of battle, which I reached a little after daylight. General Breckinridge had not yet got into position, as General Polk had permitted him to rest the night before on account of the wearied condition of the men. Repeated and urgent orders had been issued from the corps headquarters in regard to keeping rations for three days constantly on hand, but owing to difficulties, and possibly to want of attention, some of the men had been without food the day before, and a division had its rations for the day unissued, but cooked and on hand. Orders were given for their prompt issue.
At 7.25 a.m., an order was shown me (just received) from Lieutenant-General Polk and addressed to my division commanders,a and direction them to advance at once upon the enemy. The reason given for the issue of the order directly to them was that he (General Polk) had not been able to find the corps commander. I immediately replied to the note, saying that Brigadier-General Jackson's brigade, of his corps, was at right angles to my line; that my men were getting their rations, and that they could finish eating while we were adjusting the line of battle. General Polk soon after came on the field and made no objection to this delay. At 8 o'clock General Bragg himself came on the field, and I then learned for the first time that an attack had been ordered at daylight. However, the essential preparations for battle had not been made up to this hour, and, in fact, could not be made without the presence of the commander-in-chief. The position of the Yankees had not been reconnoitered. Our own line of battle had not been adjusted, and part of it was at right angles to the rest. There was no cavalry on our flanks, and no orders had fixed the strength or position of the reserves. My own line had been arranged north and south to correspond to the position of the enemy and be parallel to it. Cheatham's division was nearly, if not exactly, at right angles to mine, and was pronounced to be right by the commander-in-chief. this division was subsequently discovered by Lieutenant-General Polk after the battle began to be in rear of General Stewart's division, and was taken out by him. Moreover, Kershaw's brigade, of McLaw's division, was found to be between Stewart and Cheatham.
About 8.30 a.m., a report came from the extreme right that a line of the Yankees was extending across the Reed's Bridge road, and nearly at right angles to our line. General Adams was directed to push back their line of skirmishers. This was handsomely done, and a personal reconnaissance made with Generals Forrest and Adams proved that our line extended beyond that of the Yankees, and that their flank was covered for a great distance by infantry skirmishers, and that no cavalry was visible. During the fight of the night before I had discovered the practicability of outflanking the Yankees, and had placed Breckinridge on the right of Cleburne, so that he might turn the log breastworks which the Yankees could be hear working at from the close of the action until after daylight.
My corps was now the extreme right of our infantry force. General Forrest had brought up his cavalry to guard our flank, and had dismounted a portion of it to act as sharpshooters. A general advance was ordered. As the right was to begin the action, Cleburne was directed to dress by Breckinridge. As soon as the movement began, a staff officer was sent to Lieutenant-General Polk, with a note reminding him that the corps was in single line without reserves,and if broken at one point was broken at all points. Breckinridge advanced at 9.30 a.m., with Adam's brigade on the right, Stovall's in the center,