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[279] circuits to rejoin their commands — were brought up and their contents distributed. At night, our men lay down on their arms again, and all was quiet. Hitherto, the weather had been bright and mild; so that there was no suffering save on the part of the wounded.

The quiet remained unbroken till 8 next morning ;1 when the Rebels suddenly opened fire from many batteries which had meantime been stealthily planted in front of our center and left. Hascall's division of Crittenden's corps was exposed to the heaviest of this fire, and suffered severely — Estep's battery being quickly disabled, losing so many horses that its guns were necessarily drawn off by infantry. But Bradley's and other batteries now opened on our side; and, after half an hour's firing, the Rebels ceased as suddenly as they had begun. Our infantry, though losing heavily, did not change its position.

Van Cleve's division, after losing its chief; Lad been moved back toward our left, Col. Sam. Beatty commanding; and, at daybreak this morning, had in good part been sent across the stream, taking post on the bluff beyond, as if in pursuance of Rosecrans's original purpose to take Murfreesboroa by a determined advance of his left. Throughout the morning, the rest of Van Cleve's infantry, and two or three batteries, followed. The Rebel army having been nearly all moved farther to our right, in executing or in following up the original demonstration on that wing, this movement encountered no opposition; though skirmishing along Beatty's front grew livelier and more determined toward midday; showing that the enemy were gradually creeping up. At noon, a battery opened on our front, while other batteries were seen moving to our left, as if to flank us in that quarter. At 3 P. M., our skirmishers reported that the enemy were throwing down the fences before them, as if making ready to charge; and, before any dispositions could be made to receive them, Breckinridge's entire corps, strengthened by 10 Napoleon 12-pounders, forming three magnificent columns of assault, seemed to emerge from the earth, and, aided by a heavy enfilading fire of Bishop Polk's artillery, toward the center, swept on to the charge.

Their strength was overwhelming; and the fire of our first line, consisting of the 51st Ohio, 8th Kentucky, 35th and 78th Indiana, barely sufficed to check their determined and confident advance. In a few minutes, our men gave way in disorder, sweeping the second line with them, or constraining it to follow their example. The reserve, consisting of the 19th Ohio, 9th and 11th Kentucky, was then sent up, and fought gallantly; but were far too weak, and, being threatened by a movement on their right flank, fell back, fighting, to the river and across it, losing heavily.

But now the solid Rebel masses, formed six deep, eagerly pursuing, came within the range of Crittenden's carefully planted batteries across the stream, and were plowed through and through; while the divisions of Negley and Jeff. C. Davis, with St. Clair Morton's engineers, pressed forward to the rescue. The Rebels were in

1 Jan. 2.

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