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[153] assumed forthwith the command of the brigade. The Thirty-sixth Illinois volunteers, commanded by Captain Olson, having been detached to it, and after taking up another favorable position on the line of the railroad, I was enabled to hold the enemy, in spite of his desperate endeavors, in check until the night broke in, and the bloody drama of that day was ended.

On the first day of January, at two o'clock A. M., my brigade was ordered to take a position in front of an open field edged by heavy timber, and I had, as soon as daylight permitted, heavy breastworks erected along the whole front I was to protect; and, keeping a vigilant look-out, I held that position until, on the sixth of January, I was ordered to advance to the present camp. The officers and men of the brigade behaved as would be naturally expected from veteran soldiers who have heretofore earned the highest praise for their bravery and gallantry, and to enumerate one would be injustice to the whole. Among those who laid down their lives for our holy cause, I particularly lament Capt. Zimmerman and Lieutenants Koerner and Guinzius, of the Fifteenth Missouri volunteers. Capt. Alsop, of the Seventy-third Illinois volunteers, Captain Hosmer, of the Forty-fourth Illinois volunteers. May their relatives find a consolation, as their comrades do, in the thought that their death was on a battle-field, for the righteous cause wins immortal laurels for the slain. I cannot omit to mention Capt. Hescock, First Missouri battery, that on December thirty-first, as oftentimes before, did splendid execution. The skill and bravery of its officers are almost proverbial, and need not be further enumerated by me but to express my heartiest gratification that they stood by me, as formerly, with a right good will and telling courage.

Inclosed I have the honor to transmit to you a list of the casualties in my brigade.

Very respectfully, your obed't servant,

Bernard Liebold, Lieut.-Colonel Second Infantry, Missouri Volunteers, Commanding Second Brigade, Third Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps. To His Excellency, Hamilton R. Gamble, Governor of the State of Missouri.

General Rosecrans's great battle.

The operations of Major-Gen. Rosecrans commenced on the twenty-sixth of December by the movement of his army from Nashville, culminated on Wednesday, the thirty-first, in the collision of his forces with those of the rebels, under Bragg, at Murfreesboro. The day will be always memorable, and its events are peculiarly interesting as affording the first test of the Federal commander in the new and onerous duties with which the country has intrusted him. The command of an army of one hundred thousand men is so vast an undertaking, compared with the operations of a force of ten thousand or fifteen thousand, that even the sanguine might well have misgivings as to the success of a general always fortunate in the latter, when he first attempts the former.

Without considering the strategic policy of the time and manner of the movement upon Murfreesboro, and looking only at the grand tactics of the battle-field, it is not difficult to perceive what measure of success attended General Rosecrans in the fight, when the information already at hand is divested of the mass of exaggeration and misconception with which it has been given to the public. To what extent he was indebted to his subordinate commanders for the result may also be readily seen. For if a subordinate during a battle seizes opportune moments, and renders services not expected of him, or in the performance of a specified duty, by skilful manoeuvres, he gives his command a power not calculated upon, yet needed; the general is plainly indebted to him in a degree corresponding with the importance of the subordinate position on the field. But if the commander of a reserve, having his position designated, checks with the fire of his fresh troops the enemy, more or less exhausted by the contest with the first line, he does no more than was expected — he meets the foreseen emergency just as the general ordered, and it is simple absurdity to say that such a commander won the battle. If he did, Kellerman, lot Napoleon, won Marengo. Yet scarcely a battle is fought that precisely such a claim is not made in behalf of some commander, itching, perhaps, to double his stars, who may or may not have been used by the general at the decisive moment. The thing has become chronic, and he must “save the day” whether there is danger of losing it or not. He cannot wait for the necessity; it would be like Don Quixote awaiting an attack from the wind-mills — the affair would go by default. Therefore, as soon as the enemy approaches, he “casts an eagle glance” over the ground the general has carefully selected, posts his troops “as if by inspiration,” upon the favorable points the general has indicated, and with “heroic gallantry” orders his men to fire when the enemy comes up, and he has “saved the day.” “Our special correspondent” gives these facts to the people. This “S. C.” knows the commander; has he not eaten at his table, drank from his flask, ridden his horse, and been generally upon the most agreeably easy terms with all the dignities of shoulder-straps? And who should know better than he that the commander would not be in any fight without “saving the day” ? Having this fact for the burden of his narrative, he takes the “camp talk” of the next few days for his details, (his own mind was fully occupied during the battle in counting the stray bullets that got as far to the rear as he was,) and astonishes his readers with graphic portrayals of what he “saw” on the battle-field. To the blackness of oblivion with these prostituted scribblers and their patrons, who rob alike the sacred dead and the worthy living of their honors to grace the heads of men unable to earn their own! The “charges” these fellows make are with the pen, not the sword, and their spoils come not from the enemy but from fellow-soldiers.

On the night of December thirtieth, General Rosecrans found his army, about forty thousand

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