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Doc. 42.-the battle of Stone River.1

Major-General McCook's report.

headquarters right wing Fourteenth army corps, in camp two and A half miles South of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, January 8, 1863.
Major C. Goddard, Chief of Staff:
Major: In compliance with telegraphic orders from the General commanding, received at my camp on Mill Creek, five miles south of Nashville, at half-past 4 o'clock A. M., on the morning of the twenty-sixth of December, 1862, I put the right wing of the Fourteenth army corps in motion toward Nolensville, Tennessee.

The First division, Brigadier-General Jeff. C. Davis commanding, marched at six A. M., upon the Edmonson pike, with orders to move upon that road to Prim's blacksmith's shop, whence it was to march direct, by a country road, to Nolensville.

The Third division, Brigadier-General Philip H. Sheridan commanding, also marched at six A. M., and upon the direct road to Nolensville.

The Second division, Brigadier-General R. W. Johnson commanding (the reserve of the right wing), followed the Third division upon the direct road.

The advance guard of Generals Davis' and Sheridan's columns, encountered the enemy's cavalry about two miles beyond our picket line. There was continuous skirmishing with the enemy until the heads of these columns reached Nolensville.

About a mile beyond the town, the enemy made a determined stand in a defile and upon a range of hills that cross the turnpike at this point, lining the slopes with skirmishers and placing a six-gun battery on a commanding position, endeavoring to repel our advance.

They were attacked in front and their position handsomely turned, by General (Colonel) Carlin's brigade of Davis' division, capturing one piece of their artillery and several prisoners. After taking possession of the defile and hills, the command was encamped.

On the night of this day, I was visited by the General commanding, who gave me verbal orders to move forward in the morning to Triune, seven miles distant, and attack Hardee's corps, supposed to be quartered at that place. At this place I was joined by Brigadier-General D. S. Stanley, Chief of Cavalry, with the First and Second Tennessee regiments and Fifteenth Pennsylvania cavalry.

Preparations were made to move forward at daylight, the cavalry under General Stanley in advance, followed by the Second division under General Johnson.

It having rained all the day previous and the entire night, there was a deep fog, which prevented our seeing one hundred and fifty yards in any direction.

The columns having moved about two miles to the front, they again encountered the enemy, consisting of cavalry, infantry, and artillery. The fog at this time being so thick that friend could not be distinguished from foe, and our cavalry being fired upon by our infantry skirmishers on the flanks — the enemy being conversant with the ground, my troops strangers to it, and, from prisoners captured, having learned that Hardee's corps had been in line of battle since night before. I did not deem it prudent to advance until the fog lifted. I ordered the command to halt until the work could be done understandingly. The fog having lifted at one o'clock P. M., an advance was immediately ordered, driving the enemy's cavalry before us.

On nearing Triune, we found that the main portion of the forces had retired, leaving a battery of six pieces, supported by cavalry, to contest the crossing of Wilson's Creek, which has steep and bluff banks.

The enemy having destroyed the bridge, it was with difficulty that it could be crossed. On the approach of our skirmishers, the battery, with the cavalry, took flight down the Eaglesville road. It now being nearly dark, and a severe and driving rain-storm blowing, they were pursued no further.

Johnson's division crossed, and camped beyond Wilson's Creek, repairing the destroyed bridge.

On the morning of the twenty-eighth, I ordered out a strong reconnoissance, under command of Brigadier-General Willich, to learn whether the enemy had retired to Shelbyville or Murfreesboro. Pursuing seven miles down the Shelbyville road, it was found that the enemy had turned to the left, having taken a dirt road which led to the Salem pike, thence to Murfreesboro.

Leaving the Second brigade of Johnson's [480] division at Triune, I marched on the twenty-ninth, with my command, on the Balle Jack road, toward Murfreesboro, the road being very bad, and the command did not reach Wilkinson's Cross-roads (five miles from Murfreesboro) until late in the evening.

My command was encamped in line of battle, Sheridan's on the left of Wilkinson's pike, Davis' division on the right of the same road, Woodruff's brigade guarding the bridge over Overall's Creek, and the two brigades of Johnson's division watching the right.

On that evening, believing that the enemy intended giving our army battle at or near Murfreesboro, I ordered the brigade left at Triune to join the command without delay, which it did on the thirtieth.

At one o'clock A. M., on the thirtieth, I received an order from General Rosecrans to report in person at his headquarters, on the Murfreesboro pike, and arrived there at three and a half o'clock A. M., received my instructions, which were that the left of my line should rest on the right of General Negley's division, and my right was to be thrown forward until it became parallel, or nearly so, with Stone River, the extreme right to rest on or near the Franklin road.

My entire command advanced at nine and a half o'clock, and Sheridan's division moving down the Wilkinson turnpike, until its advance encountered the enemy's pickets.

The line of battle was then formed, the left of Sheridan's division resting upon the Wilkinson pike, immediately upon General Negley's right. The remainder of Sheridan's division was deployed to the right, the line running in a south-easterly direction. Davis' division, which had already been deployed, moved up, his left resting upon Sheridan's right, Johnson's division being held in reserve. Our front was covered with a strong line of skirmishers, who soon became sharply engaged with the enemy's sharp-shooters and skirmishers.

The line moved forward, but slowly, as the enemy contested stubbornly every inch of ground gained by us. The ground was very favorable to them. They were under cover of heavy woods and cedar thickets. At twelve o'clock M. on the thirtieth, the house of a Mr. Harding came within our lines. From that point I ascertained where the enemy's line of battle was-our skirmishers being then about five hundred yards distant from it.

The right, under General Davis, moved handsomely, but slowly, into position, as the ground over which he had to march was hotly contested by the enemy's skirmishers.

At one o'clock P. M., word was sent to General D. S. Stanley, Chief of Cavalry, that Colonel Zahn, commanding three regiments of cavalry on my right flank, was hard pressed by a superior force. I ordered one brigade of my reserve division to report to General Stanley, who conducted it to the Franklin road. On his approach, the enemy pressing, Colonel Zahn retired, and the brigade was ordered back to its former position.

At two o'clock P. M., a citizen, residing on the Franklin road, and about half a mile in front of the enemy's line of battle, was put under guard by General Stanley. He reported as follows:

I was up to the energy's line of battle twice yesterday, and once this morning, to get some stock taken from me. The enemy's troops are posted in the following manner: The right of Cheatham's division rests on the Wilkinson pike. Withers is on Cheatham's left, with his left resting on the Franklin road. Hardee's corps is entirely beyond that road, his right resting on that road, and his left extending toward the Salem pike.

This man was immediately sent to the General commanding, and subsequently returned to me with the report that his information had been received.

I also sent a report to the

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James S. Negley (51)
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Jefferson C. Davis (32)
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Hascall (27)
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