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[280] turn overmatched and hurled back in disorder; losing four of their guns, the flag of the 26th Tennessee, and a considerable body of prisoners. Had not darkness fallen directly, while a heavy rain had set in, Rosecrans would have pursued the fugitives right into Murfreesboroa.1 As it was, Crittenden's corps and Davis's division both passed over, reoccupied the commanding ground, and, before morning, were solidly intrenched there, ready for whatever emergency.

Another night of anxious watchfulness gave place to a morning2 of pouring rain, by which the ground was so sodden as to impede the movement of artillery. We were short of ammunition till 10 A. M., when an anxiously expected train was welcomed. Batteries were now constructed on the ground so handsomely gained on our left, by which even Murfreesboroa could be shelled; and Gens. Thomas and Rousseau, who had for days been annoyed by Rebel sharp-shooters from the cedar thickets in their front, obtained permission from Rosecrans to dislodge them by a charge, following a sharp fire of artillery-four regiments entering and soon clearing the woods, capturing 70 or 80 prisoners. No counter-movement being attempted, the fourth day closed peacefully, and was followed by a quiet night.

Quiet on our side only. Bragg had concluded to leave, and commenced the movement, as stealthily as possible, at 11 P. M.; gathering up his men and guns s so cautiously that even our pickets were not aware of his Hegira till broad daylight,3 when too late for effective pursuit; which, in fact, our inferiority in cavalry must at any rate have rendered comparatively fruitless. We do not seem even to have advanced on his track till Monday.4

Wheeler's cavalry, after vigorously resisting our advance to Stone river, had been dispatched5 by Bragg to the rear of our army ; capturing Lavergne,6 taking 700 prisoners, and destroying heavy army trains, with a large amount of stores. Thence hastening to Rock Spring and Nolensville, they made still further captures at each ; and, having passed around7 our army, reached the left flank of Bragg's, just as it commenced its great and successful charge on McCook ; guarding that flank, and coming into action as it gained the Nashville turnpike, just north of Overall's creek. Wheeler of course claims the advantage in this fight; but admits that lie fell back at the close, numbering Col. Allen and Lt.-Col. Webb among his wounded. Next morning, lie went up the turnpike to Lavergne; capturing another train and a gun ; regaining, by order, tho front during the night; and, being again sent, at 9 P. M., to our rear;

1 He says, in his report:

The enemy retreated more rapidly than they had advanced. In twenty minutes, they had lost 2,000 men.

2 Saturday, Jan. 3.

3 Sunday, Jan. 4.

4 Rosecrans, in his official report, says he received news on Sunday morning that the enemy had fled from Murfreesboroa; when burial parties were sent out to inter the dead, and the cavalry ordered to reconnoiter. He adds that Thomas, on Monday morning, drove the Rebel rear-guard (cavalry) six or seven miles southward, and that--

“We learned that the enemy's infantry had reached Shelbyville by 12 M. on Sunday; but, owing to the impracticability of bringing up supplies, and the loss of 557 artillery horses, farther pursuit was deemed inadvisable.”

5 Night of Dec. 29-30.

6 Dec. 30.

7 Dec. 31.

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