Bragg’s Retreat (Remembering Rutherford, page 26)

Remembering Rutherford, Greg Tucker, Page 26

During a lull in the fighting during the Battle of Stones River, Union General William Rosecrans ‘resorted to a very ancient but a very effective species of strategy.  By a heavy division of campfires, and by a feigned line of battle, whose only reality consisted in torches, he succeeded in impressing the Confederate commander with more respect for his forces in that direction than that might have been entertained upon a closer inspection.

“About noon on the 3rd of January, Confederate General Braxton Bragg determined to give up the contest.  Up to that time there had been no fighting during the day.  It had been raining since long before daybreak, and Rosecrans would have found great difficulty in pushing the enemy, dragging his artillery through muddy fields.  Besides, the troops from both armies were nearly exhausted by exposure and fatigue.  That night Bragg retreated to the Duck River with perfect security.  It was an utter impossibility for Rosecrans, under the circumstances, to follow in pursuit.  Even if the weather had been favorable, he had no cavalry, and his artillery horse were worn out.”

Harper’s History of the Great Rebellion

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