previous next

[131] service, and I do not censure them or question their bravery when I say that, bewildered and confused, without a division or brigade commander, outflanked and nearly surrounded by a force vastly outnumbering us all, they fell back without at that time coming into the action, and left me alone with my four small regiments, already badly cut to pieces, and without a solitary support. There is a limit to physical endurance. No troops on earth could long sustain themselves circumstanced as mine were. The enemy's left had been swung around, and was then rapidly closing in upon my right flank. My artillery had now become unmanageable by reason of the terrible havoc made by the enemy's fire among my artillery-horses, and could not be moved. Capt. Edgarton is a brave and accomplished officer. He stood by his battery to the last, under the fiercest musketry-fire. He assisted in loading and firing with his own hands, until at last overpowered, he was captured with his pieces, and is now a prisoner.

I remained with the right till it was finally driven back, then passing toward the left, I again rallied my troops, and formed a line, nearly at right angles with the first, along the edge of the woodland, about a half-mile in front of division headquarters. Here the Seventy-ninth Illinois, having been relieved from duty with the train, came up on the “double-quick” to the assistance of their comrades, and, new troops as they are, they fought like veterans during the balance of the engagement. Early in the engagement, while yet with the right, I had in succession two horses killed under me, and afterward received a severe wound in the hip. Having now re-formed the line, and finding myself too weak from the loss of blood to continue longer on the field, I surrendered up the command to Colonel Dodge, and withdrew from the front. The subsequent action of the brigade, after a hard struggle, driven back as they were from this point, and rallying again, in turn driving the enemy, and at last reenforced, recovering the ground they had lost. All this you have in the report of Col. Dodge. It has been loosely said: “The Second division was surprised.” I cannot speak for others, but as concerns my own brigade this is not true. I have already explained how well my troops were prepared for the battle, and how manfully they fought; and justice to this brigade, to its dead who fell in battle, to its living whose thinned ranks show with what sanguinary fierceness they contested the field, demands that this record should be made in proof of their readiness for battle and of their duty done. And 'tis a source of regret that my division commander was prevented by other duties from being present on the field during the engagement, that he might bear witness with me to the good conduct of these troops. In this general report I am compelled to pass by many individual acts of daring and courage, lest in mentioning some I should do injustice to others. These will appear in the regimental reports, and are respectfully commended to the consideration of the General Commanding. I will, however, briefly mention my field-officers. Lieut.-Colonel Housam, of the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, fell mortally wounded while leading his regiment in a charge upon a rebel battery; Adjutant Davis, of the same regiment, then took command, and handled the regiment with great efficiency; Major Dysart commanded the Thirty-fourth Illinois, and added to his well-earned reputation as an officer; Captain Van Tassel, acting Major of that regiment, was severely wounded while cheering on his men in the struggle on the right. Lieut.-Col. Dunn, of the Twenty-ninth Indiana, and Major Fitzsimmons, of the Thirtieth Indiana, were taken prisoners later in the day, but under what circumstances I have not been able to learn. Major Collins, of the Twenty-ninth Indiana, remained in command of that regiment. Col. Dodge, of the Thirtieth Indiana, to whom I surrendered the command of the brigade, acted with distinguished gallantry during the day. Lieut.-Col. Hurd, just recovering from the effects of wounds received in our skirmish at La Vergne, added to the laurels he had earned at Shiloh. Col. Reed of the Seventy-ninth Illinois, was killed at the head of his regiment, but not till he had proved himself a brave and intrepid officer. Major Buckner then assumed command; and, by his good conduct, has well earned promotion.

My staff-officers, Capt. Wagner, A. A.G., Capt. Beeler, A. C.S., (volunteer aid that day,) Captain Edsall, Ins. Gen., McElpatrick, Top. Eng., Lieuts. Walker and Baldwin, Aids, and Hewitt, Acting Brig. Surgeon, all have proved their efficiency too often and too long to need praise from me now, but my thanks are due to them for their intelligent and active assistance that day. Two of my orderlies, John Darstrin and Thomas Mar, remained by me under the fiercest fire. Darstrin's horse was killed under him and he severely wounded. They behaved nobly here as they did at Shiloh, and deserve commissions.

The troops of my brigade represent the States of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. To the friends and relatives of the wounded and dead I offer my warmest condolence, but with it the proud assurance that their sons and brothers fell true soldiers with no stains upon them.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

E. N. Kirk, Brigadier-General.


Report of Colonel Wiley.

camp near Murfreesboro, Tenn., headquarters Forty-First regiment O. V., Jan. 6, 1863.
Major R. L. Kimberly, A. A.A. G.:
As commander of the Forty-first regiment Ohio volunteers, I have the honor to submit the following report of its operations and casualties in the recent engagements before Murfreesboro.

On the evening of the thirtieth of December, the regiment, which was then in double column in reserve, was ordered to take position in the first line of battle, its left resting on the right of and near the Murfreesboro and Nashville turnpike, with two companies deployed as skirmishers about one hundred and fifty yards in advance,


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
January 6th, 1863 AD (1)
December 30th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: