the Tenth brigade. This position we held when the general action of the thirty-first commenced, and deserves special notice. It was in a cotton-field two and a half miles from Murfreesboro, on the place of Mr. Cowan, the line being at right angles with the Murfreesboro and Nashville pike, the left resting on it, and at a point about three hundred yards toward Nashville from its intersection with the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. The railroad and pike cross at this point at a sharp angle. The position was utterly untenable, being commanded by ground in all directions with covers of wood, embankment and palisading, at good musket-range, in front, right and left. My brigade was formed in two lines, the right resting against a skirt of wood, which, widening and extending to the right, gave concealment to the Twenty-second brigade, which was adjacent to mine, and farther on, to the entire division of Negley. On the left of the pike was Wagner's brigade of Wood's division. The Sixth Kentucky and Forty-first Ohio were in the front line — the Sixth Kentucky on the right, and the Forty-first Ohio on the left. The Ninth Indiana and One Hundred and Tenth Illinois were in the second line — the Ninth on the right, and the One Hundred and Tenth on the left. A fierce battle had commenced at daylight on our right, and progressed with ominous changes of position till about half-past 8 A. M., when it could be no longer doubted that our entire right was being driven around in the rear, to a position nearly at right angles to its proper line. At this moment authority was given to move forward to seize the commanding positions in front, and the burnt house of Mr. Cowan. The line advanced about twenty yards, when orders were given to face to the rear, the necessity for which was apparent, the enemy by this time having pushed forward quite to our rear. He, at the same time, broke cover over the crest in front, at a double-quick, in two lines. I faced my two right regiments to the rear, and moving them into the skirt of the wood commenced to engage in that direction. My two left regiments were retired about fifty yards, and moved to the left of the pike to take cover of a slight crest, and engaged to the front, the regiment of Colonel Wayne's brigade occupying that ground (Colonel Blake's Fortieth Indiana) having fallen much to the rear of it. The enemy had by this time taken position about the burnt house, and the action became at my position terrific. The efforts of the enemy to force back my front and cross the cotton-field my troops had moved out of, were persistent, and were defeated only by the most unflinching determination on the part of the Forty-first Ohio volunteers, and One Hundred and Tenth Illinois, to hold the ground to the last. All the troops of General Wood posted on our left, except two regiments guarding a ford some distance to our left and rear, were withdrawn to repel the assault upon the right, so that the Nineteenth brigade was the extreme left of the army. Upon this point, as a pivot, the whole army oscillated from front to rear the entire day. The ammunition of the Forty-first Ohio volunteers was nearly expended, and my efforts to replenish were, up to this time, fruitless. I despatched word to the rear that assistance must be given or we must be sacrificed, as the position I held could not be given up, and gave orders to Col. Wiley to fix his bayonets, and to Col. Casey (without bayonets) to club his guns and hold the ground at all hazards, as it was the key of the whole left. The responses satisfied me that my orders would be obeyed so long as any of those regiments were left to obey them. I now brought over the Ninth Indiana from the right, and immediately posted it to relieve the Forty-first Ohio volunteers. It is proper to state here that in advancing to this position under a galling fire, a cannon-shot passed through the ranks of the Ninth Indiana, carrying death with it, and the ranks were closed without checking a step. The Forty-first Ohio retired with its thinned ranks in as good order as on parade, cheering for the cause and crying for cartridges. A few discharges from the fresh regiments sufficed to completely check the foe, who drew out of our range, and at half-past 9 a lull and rest came acceptably to our troops upon the left, the advance upon the right having also been checked. At about ten A. M. another assault was made by the enemy in several lines furiously upon our front, they succeeding in pushing a strong column past the burnt house, covered by the palisading, to the wood occupied by the Twenty-second brigade and the Sixth Kentucky. All of our troops occupying these woods now fell back, exposing my right flank, and threatening an assault from that point that would sweep away our entire left. Gen. Palmer, seeing the danger and knowing the importance of this position, sent the Twenty-fourth Ohio volunteers, Col. Jones, and a fragment of the Thirty-sixth Indiana volunteers, under Capt. Woodruff, to my support. I posted these and the Forty-first Ohio, with the left of the line resting on the Ninth Indiana, and extending to the right and rear, so as to face the advancing column. It was a place of great danger, and our losses here were heavy, including the gallant Col. Jones, of the Twenty-fourth Ohio volunteers; but with the timely assistance of Parson's battery the enemy was checked, and the left again preserved from what appeared certain annihilation. The enemy now took cover in the wood, keeping up so destructive a fire as to make it necessary to retire behind the embankment of the railroad, which only required the swinging to the rear my right, the left having been posted upon it when the action commenced in the morning. A sharp fire was kept up from this position till about two P. M., when another assault was made upon it in regular lines, supported by artillery in force. This was resisted much more easily than the previous ones, there being now a large force of our artillery bearing upon this point. The enemy also extended his lines much farther to
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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