previous next

[165] Ohio, was thrown across Stone our extreme left, without serious resistance.

The same day the rebel cavalry appeared at various points on the Murfreesboro pike, and cut up some of our trains. Colonel Innes, with the Ninth Michigan engineers, posted at La Vergne to protect the road, had just been reenforced by several companies of the Tenth Ohio, under Lieutenant-Colonel Burke, when Wheeler's cavalry brigade made a strong dash at his position. Colonel Innes had protected himself by a stockade of brush, and fought securely. The enemy charged several times with great fury, but were murderously repulsed. About fifty rebels were dismounted, and nearly a hundred of the horses were killed. Wheeler finally withdrew, and sent in a flag of truce demanding surrender. Colonel Innes replied: “We don't surrender much.” Wheeler then asked permission to bury his dead, which was granted. Travelling on the road, however, was extremely dangerous. Many of our stragglers and wounded were captured and paroled. Among the latter, Col. Blake and Lieut.Colonel Neff, of the Fortieth Indiana.

By Friday the prospect was very cheering. Excepting the reverse of Wednesday morning, the enemy had been driven in every engagement. The ball was opened early in the morning, the enemy taking the initiative. Sharp demonstrations were made along the whole line, but nothing decisive was attempted until three o'clock in the afternoon, when the rebels suddenly burst upon Battery Six (late Van Cleve's) in small divisions on the other side of Stone River, and drove it pell-mell with considerable loss to this side. The enemy, as usual, had massed its army and advanced in great strength. Negley's division, supported by that of Davis, and St. Clair Morton's pioneer battalion, were immediately sent forward to retrieve the disaster. A sanguinary conflict ensued, perhaps the most bitter of the whole battle. Davis also went up in gallant array. Both sides massed their batteries, and plied them with desperate energy. The infantry there of either side displayed great valor, but Negley's unconquerable Eighth division resolved to win. The fury of the conflict now threatened mutual annihilation, but Stanley and Miller, with the Nineteenth Illinois, Eighteenth, Twenty-first and Seventy-fourth Ohio, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania, Eleventh Michigan, and Thirty-seventh Indiana, charged simultaneously, and drove the enemy rapidly before them, capturing a battery and taking the flag of the Twenty-sixth Tennessee, the color-sergeant being killed with a bayonet. The banner is the trophy of the Seventy-Eighth Pennsylvania. The fire of our batteries exceeded in vigor even the cannonading of Wednesday. At about sunset the whole rebel line receded, leaving about four hundred prisoners in our custody.

Gen. Rosecrans, as usual, was in the midst of the fray, directing the movement of troops and the range of batteries. Our victory was clean and destructive. The enemy lost over a thousand men, including, it is said, Brigadier-General Roger Hanson, of Kentucky. Again our brave lads shouted peans. The woods sounded with the joyful acclaim. Officers of Negley's division galloped swiftly across the field, trailing the captured flag; a thousand willing hands seized the captured guns and dragged them into camp. But this was the glorification. The Commander sought the real results. Masses of troops were ordered to follow the sullen enemy, and the yell of pursuers and clatter of musketry resounded far into night. The darkness, however, caused suspension of the pursuit.

Friday night it rained heavily, and Saturday a storm raged all day. Early in the morning a brigade of rebels made a sudden dash upon the Forty-second Indiana, and cut it up seriously. After that, the day was quiet, saving a persecution of our pickets by sharp-shooters, who took shelter in a residence on the pike. Gen. Rousseau, dissatisfied with such proceedings, directed the batteries of Loomis and Guenther to batter down the house, and in fifteen minutes nothing was left of it. A number of rebels were killed, including the Colonel of the First Louisiana regiment. At dark Rousseau determined to carry the war a little further into Dixie. A rebel breastwork in his front, occupied by a brigade during the day, had covered troublesome marksmen. Col. Beatty was ordered to carry the work with the Third Ohio and Sixty-eighth Indiana. The lads went in gallantly, and a sharp night engagement ensued, resulting in the complete rout of the enemy, and the capture of a number of prisoners. Our troops held the work, and this morning the enemy were not at Murfreesboro. They had skedaddled.

The battle of Stone River will ever be distinguished as one of the most obstinately contested of the war. The strength of the hostile armies was about equal. There may have been a slight disparity of numbers in our favor, but this is doubtful. We have prisoners representing about eighty regiments, from all the rebellious States. But whatever disparity — if any — of numbers was in our favor, was more than equalized by choice of position.

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 Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: