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On the 2d, a division of the Federal left crossed Stone's River and took possession of a hill in front of the Confederate right, that commanded the right of Lieutenant-General Polk's position. Major-General Breckenridge was directed to drive the enemy from it with his division. He did so with less difficulty than might have been expected, although his troops in advancing to the attack were exposed to a well-directed fire of artillery while marching five or six hundred yards in open ground. They were not checked, however, by this cannonade, and closed with the Federal infantry with a spirit that drove them very soon down the hill and across the stream. But fresh troops in much stronger bodies, especially on the right, supported by as many batteries, apparently, as could be brought to bear, then advanced against the Confederates. The unequal struggle that ensued was soon ended by the defeat of the latter with severe loss, and the recovery of the contested hill by the enemy. Breckenridge's division resumed its former position at dusk.

During this engagement, the ground occupied on the 31st by Hazen's brigade was recovered by the enemy. In the morning of the 3d of January it was retaken by a detachment formed from Coltart's and White's brigades. A vigorous but ineffectual effort to dislodge this detachment was made by the Federals.

The armies faced each other without serious fighting during the remainder of the day. General Bragg was employed all the afternoon in sending his trains to the rear, and in other preparations to retire. The army was put in motion about mid.

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