hill. The forests are splintered with the furious volumes of fire. On they go. Yon line of gray and steel halts, staggers, reels. “There they go,” shouts the gallant leader. “Now drive them home!” Great God, what tumult in the brain. Sense reels with the intoxicating frenzy. There was a line of dead blue coats where the charge was so gallantly made; but the corpses of the foe were scattered thickly through those woods. Beatty's brigade — Old Rich Mountain Beatty — made that glorious charge. It was the first encouraging event of that gloomy morn. Sweeping rapidly from that point to our left, the whole line was put in motion, and the batteries advanced. A few hundred yards on left of Beatty's line the enemy were still advancing, boldly driving a small brigade down a little valley before them. As the head of the retreating column debouched from a thicket, it was interrupted by the General, and re-formed by members of his staff. Stokes's battery advanced rapidly across the road, supported by Capt. St. Clair Morton's battalions of pioneers — men selected from all regiments for their vigor and mechanical skill. The fire was desperately hot, but the General saw only a broken line which he determined to rally. The battery was planted on a little knoll, with its flanks protected by thickets, and Morton deployed his pioneers on either side. The battery opened briskly, and Morton led his battalion beautifully to the front. The enemy, suddenly checked by the murderous fire, staggered and fell back swiftly, sheltering themselves in friendly forests. And so, along the whole line, the enemy was pressed backward. The day was saved. No man disputes that the personal exertions of General Rosecrans retrieved the fortunes of the morning. At about two o'clock the enemy were discovered right and left of the Murfreesboro pike, advancing in heavy masses to attack our left wing. Such a field of battle is rarely witnessed. It was a scene of appalling grandeur. Every feature was keenly cut and clearly defined. The day was one of surprising beauty. The blazing sun shone kindly through the canopy of smoke which expanded over the dreadful combat. The pomp of battalions in martial panoply, loomed up grandly in their staunch array. At regular intervals there were bold figures of solitary horsemen standing out in sharp relief, faithful guardians of our brave soldiers and shining targets for the infernal marksmen of the foe. Gallant officers, defiantly inviting the murderous skill of sharpshooters ambushed behind every covert on the plains. Oh! vain, sad sacrifice! It thrills the soul with anguish to scan the bloody record of that gory day. Behind them, crowning commanding crests, our own fine batteries distributed over the field in unstudied picturesqueness, were clothed in thunder and robed in sheets of smoke and flame. Horses, frantic with anguish of wounds, and wild with the furious tumult, were bounding in their leashes with desperate energy, seeking to fly the field. Dozens of them were torn to shreds. A single shell crashed through three noble beasts, and piled them, in dreadful confusion, under a shattered limber. A solid shot crashed against a gun-carriage and glanced off the head of another horse. One battery lost twenty-eight horses, another thirty-two. Hundreds of their carcasses are strewn upon the field. Gen. McCook's horse was killed under him; Major Caleb Bates lost his also. Negley's staff lost three or four. Every staff suffered in some degree. The hostile array on the other side imparted an awful sublimity to the spectacle. Great masses of rebel troops moved steadily over the field, careless of our battery play, which tore upon their ranks and scattered them bleeding upon the soil. But they marched up through the destroying storm dauntlessly. Their batteries wheeled into position splendidly, and were worked with telling effect. There was a point, however, beyond which even their desperadoes could not be urged. Battle raged two hours with horrid slaughter, and neither side receded until nearly five o'clock, when the nearly exhausted armies suspended operations for the night, excepting the play of a few batteries. It was a most desperate contest and undecided. The advantages was with the enemy. He had driven our right almost upon our left, compelling us to change front under fire, and he occupied that part of the field. He also held territory occupied that morning by our pickets on the left, but we had receded from that ground to draw him out. No battle was ever more fiercely fought. Desperate valor had been displayed on either side. Victory had been promised to the foe, but the tenacity of our General, the skill with which he turned the tide of battle, his cheerfulness in the midst of adversity; the steadiness of Gens. Thomas's and Crittenden's corps, the dauntless courage of Rousseau's and Negley's glorious divisions gave promise of triumph in the end. But the situation was extremely critical. The enemy still evinced determination to turn our right and cut us off from Nashville. The carnage of that day was terrible. It was underrated that night. Our killed and wounded on the first day reached three thousand. The enemy confessed a loss of five thousand. But they captured about twenty-five pieces of artillery from us and a large number of prisoners. We captured, probably, four hundred prisoners, and no guns. The Murfreesboro Rebel Banner of yesterday estimates our casualties at twenty thousand! and claims that they captured three thousand five hundred prisoners up to Saturday morning. At dawn Thursday morning we renewed the battle, but the enemy were not disposed to accept the challenge, and they were posted in such a manner that a general attack was not deemed prudent. An hour or two later, they moved out of position and assaulted us furiously on the left of the centre, and right of the left wing. After a severe engagement they were handsomely repulsed. That evening Van Cleve's division, then under the command of Col. Beatty, of the Nineteenth
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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