our position if supported. He said the order was peremptory, and I hastened to execute it, but not until I was flanked both on the right and left. The brigade moved to the rear in good order, and halted on the new line, but the right and left continued the march, and, being severely pressed, we made a vigorous charge and drove the enemy back in our front, but, strange to say, not only carried our point but swung the enemy's lines upon right and left with it. Had we been supported here they would have been routed; as it was, we regained our position occupied when the battle opened, but could hold it but a moment when we were forced to yield to superior numbers, and steadily fell back to the ground from which the charge was first made. From this point we charged a second time, compelling the enemy to yield ground, but our ammunition beginning to fail, and no wagons to be found from which to replenish the stock, the brigade was ordered to hold its position as best it could, and if pressed too hard to fall steadily back until the battery could be got into position to protect their movements across the open cotton-field. I placed the battery in position, and gave the officer in command, Sergeant Germain, directions where to fire, pointing out to him the position of the brigade, and what he was required to do. The ammunition of the regiment now entirely failing, and a perfect rout appearing to have taken place, the brigade fell back to the ground occupied by them on the morning of Tuesday. At this time the whole wing was in the utmost confusion, and I used every endeavor to rally and organize them, but without avail. There seemed to be no fear, no panic, but a stolid indifference unaccountable; officers and men passed to the rear, nor words nor exhortations could prevent them. In three different positions I used every exertion to re-form our lines, but it became impossible. Reaching the Murfreesboro pike, a stampede or panic commenced in the wagon-train, but, succeeding in getting a regiment across the road, it was stopped, and by a vigorous charge of cavalry saved from the enemy. We were then placed in reserve to our division along the Murfreesboro pike, and there waited in anxious expectation to make or repel an attack until the afternoon of Friday, when we were ordered to move in double-quick to the extreme left to support the division, which was being driven in by the enemy; and, although fatigued and worn out from want of sleep and exposure to rain, without tents or blankets, for seven days, two days of which time we had nothing to eat but parched corn, the command with yells of joy rushed forward, and, after fording the river three times, pushed the enemy back with the greatest rapidity, the ground being covered with rebel dead and wounded. We went into position about two miles from the ford and on the extreme left. During the night we threw up an abattis of rails, and lay on our arms without fires in a drenching rain. The next morning (Saturday, January third) we expected an attack, but none occurred during the day. That night we changed position to the right again, nothing but picket skirmishing having occurred during the day. When the morning of Saturday passed without an attack, I became satisfied in my own mind that the enemy were evacuating Murfreesboro, and so expressed it. I cannot speak in too high terms of the gallant conduct of the officers and men under my command. If indomitable daring, cool courage, and invincible bravery in the midst of the turmoil of such a battle, when all space seemed to be occupied by some deadly missile, amid carnage and noise, be any proof of heroism, they certainly possess it. Many instances of personal daring and feats of individual prowess were visibly performed, but I must refer you to the reports of subordinate commanders for names and instances. To the men and officers of the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-fifth Illinois and the Eighth. Wisconsin battery I owe especial thanks for the determined bravery and chivalric heroism they evinced throughout. Also to the officers and men of the Eighty-first Indiana, a new regiment. It was the first time they were under fire, and with but few exceptions, they manfully fronted the storm of battle, and gave earnest proof of what may hereafter be expected of them. I desire to call the attention of the commanding officer to the gallant conduct of Lieut.-Colonel Chandler, commanding the Thirty-fifth Illinois, whose cool, steady courage, admirable deportment, and skilful management evinced the soldier true and tried, and who at all times proved himself worthy of the trust he holds. Major McIlvain of the same regiment, who had the supervision of skirmishers, I cannot praise too much. His good judgment and skilful handling elicited encomiums of well-merited compliments at all times. He was cool, determined, and persevering. Lieut.-Colonel Timberlake and Major Woodbury, of the Eighty-first Indiana, displayed manly courage, and held their regiment firm and steady under a heavy fire. For officers young in the service, their efforts are worthy of imitation. Captain W. Taggert, who succeeded to the command of the Twenty-fifth Illinois regiment, behaved as a soldier should everywhere — efficient and ever ready to execute orders. First Sergeant of the Eighth Wisconsin battery merits much praise for the cool, skilful, and determined manner he served his battery after he succeeded to the command. To my staff--Captain George Austin, A. A.A. G., Captain A. C. Keyes, Lieutenant C. P. Ford, Lieutenant John F. Isom, Lieutenant W. R. McChesney, and Lieutenant H. S. Parks--I owe especial thanks for the manner they served upon the field, conveying my orders wherever required through a hail-storm of shot, shells, and bullets, regardless of all save the performance of their duty. During the conflict, it being necessary, in the absence of staff-officers on duty, to make use of orderlies to supply their places, in connection herewith I take great pleasure in testifying to the
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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