previous next

[161] years' experience, and with no superior as an administrative officer, it is an outrage — nay, it is a pitiful meanness — to send him into battle with a little battalion, simply because he has too much noble pride to seek promotion by the means that alone succeed nowadays. I would speak of others, but my letter is already too long. Perhaps I may write again.



Cincinnati commercial account.

battle-field of Stone River, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 3, 1863.
A week of horrors, a week of carnage, a week of tremendous conflict — and battle still raging! At this moment there is angry rattle of musketry and deep, sullen roar of cannon, echoing in the forest within Minie range of our marquee. My God, when will it end! A thousand gallant dead slumber in their bloody graves; four thousand wounded and mangled patriots are moaning on this sanguinary field. God knows how many rebel lives have spent during this fearful week, or how many desperate traitors suffer the agony of dreadful wounds.

In the rage of conflict the human heart expresses little sympathy with human suffering. Your best friend is lifted from the saddle by the fatal shaft, and plunges wildly to the earth — a corpse. One convulsive leap of your heart, you dash onward in the stormy field, and the dead is forgotten until the furious frenzy of battle is spent. “Never mind,” said our great-hearted General, when the death of the noble Sill was announced; “brave men must die in battle! We must seek results.” When Gares he's headless trunk fell at his feet, a shock thrilled him, and he dashed again into the fray. He was told that McCook was killed. “We cannot help it; men who fight must be killed. Never mind; let us fight this battle.”

On Friday, December twenty-sixth, the army advanced in three columns, Major-General McCook's corps down the Nolinsville pike, driving Hardee before him a mile and a half beyond Nolinsville. Major-General Thomas's corps, from its encampment on the Franklin pike via the Wilson pike; Crittenden on the Murfreesboro pike. The right and left met with considerable resistance in a rolling and hilly country, with rocky bluffs and dense cedar thickets, affording cover for the enemy's skirmishers. Crittenden moved to a point within a mile and a half of La Vergne, skirmishing with the enemy sharply. Gen. Thomas met with but little opposition.

On the twenty-seventh McCook drove Hardee from a point beyond Nolinsville, and pushed a reconnoitring division six miles toward Shelbyville, discovering that Hardee had retreated to Murfreesboro. This indicated intention on the part of the enemy to make a stand; otherwise, Hardee would have fallen back upon Shelbyville. General Crittenden fought all the way to Stewart's Creek, with small loss, and rested on its banks, rebel pickets appearing on the opposite banks. General Rosecrans's headquarters were then at a point twelve miles from Nashville. It seemed that the enemy would make a stand on Stewart's Creek, that being a good line of defence. That night General Thomas, with the divisions of Rousseau and Negley, occupied Nolinsville.

On the twenty-eighth General McCook completed his reconnaissance of Hardee's movement, and General Crittenden awaited results, while General Thomas moved his corps across to Stewart's Creek, executing a fatiguing march with great energy, General Rosecrans deeming his junction with the left of great importance at that time.

On the twenty-ninth, General McCook moved to Wilkinson's cross-roads, within seven miles of Murfreesboro, at the end of a short road through a rough, rolling country, skirted by bluffs and dense cedar thickets. General Crittenden moved forward with some resistance to a point within three miles of Murfreesboro, and found the enemy in force. General Negley was moved forward to the centre, Rousseau's division in reserve on the right of Crittenden's corps. General Rosecrans's headquarters advanced to the east side of Stewart's Creek, and after a hasty supper he proceeded to the front and remained on the field all night. He was accompanied by Lieutenant-Colonel Garesche, his Chief of Staff; Colonel Barnett, Chief of Artillery, Major Goddard, A. A.G. ; Major Skinner, Lieutenant Byron Kirby, Lieutenant Bond, and Father Tracy, who remained faithfully with him, and at no time, from the beginning of the action, deserted him.

On the thirtieth, General McCook advanced on the Wilkinson pike, through heavy thickets, stubbornly resisted by the enemy, General Sheridan's division being in advance, General Sill's brigade constituting his right. The enemy developed such strength that Gen. McCook directed Sheridan to form in line of battle, and the division of Gen. Jeff. C. Davis was thrown out upon his right. It was now discovered that Hardee's corps was in front, on the west side of the river, in line of battle, his front crossing our right obliquely, in position, if extended, to flank us. Our left stood fast, in line corresponding with the course of Stone River, mainly upon undulating fields. The centre under Negley, slightly advanced into a cedar thicket, and was engaged, with great difficulty, in reconnoitring, under sharp resistance, and in cutting roads through the almost impenetrable forest, to open communication with the right. The contest had brought forward McCook's right division, facing strongly south-east, with the reserve division between the centre and right, and sufficiently far in the rear to support, and if necessary, to extend it — the consequences which were developed next day. Two brigades of Johnson's division — Kirk's and Willich's — were ultimately thrown out on the extreme right, facing south, and somewhat in reserve, to make every thing secure.

We were as confident that day that there would be battle on the next, as we were conscious of existence. A good many men indeed had already fallen. Rebels in considerable numbers were already visible across the plains, on the


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 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
December 26th (1)
30th (1)
29th (1)
28th (1)
27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: