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Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 2.djvu/94

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Bragg Dislodged from Chattanooga.—1863

WITHIN a little over a week after I left it, the Army of the Cumberland had compelled Bragg's forces to abandon the fortified line described in the preceding chapter, by the literally “brief and brilliant” so-called Tullahoma campaign. Had the full execution of Rosecrans's strategic programme not been prevented by the extra ordinary inclemency of the unseasonable weather, he would probably have succeeded in working around the enemy's right flank and upon his lines of communication, and inflicting a complete defeat upon him. As it was, he forced the enemy, with a loss of about two thousand in killed, wounded, and prisoners, and some guns, out of middle Tennessee, while his own loss hardly reached five hundred. Bragg, in his official reports to the rebel authorities, admitted that our flanking movements compelled him to fall back first from the Shelbyville-Wartrace line to Tullahoma, and thence to Elk River, and finally to retreat over the mountains to Chattanooga. He claimed that he did this to save his army from “destruction without a battle,” which latter issue, much desired by himself and his command, he had offered to the enemy, but failed to bring him to it. His retreat was fully approved by the commanders under him, as is shown by a direct communication from Lieutenant-General Polk to President Davis, but was nevertheless a great disappointment to the Confederate Government. It had a right to expect different results from an army whose condition, according to the reports of an aide-de-camp of Jefferson Davis who had made a thorough inspec-