previous next

[481] you to be designated by the General commanding.

I was also informed that Crittenden's corps would move, simultaneously with my attack, into Murfreesboroa.

Written instructions were sent by me to each division commander, on the night of the thirtieth, explaining to each what would be required of them on the thirty-first.

At about six and half o'clock on the thirty-first, a determined, heavy attack was made on Kirk's and Willich's brigades, on the extreme right. They were attacked by such an over-whelming force, that they were compelled to fall back.

General Kirk being seriously wounded at the first fire upon his main line, General Willich having his horse killed early in the action, and he falling into the hands of the enemy, the two brigades were deprived of their immediate commanders, and gave way in confusion. Colonel Post's brigade, on the right of Davis' division, and, in fact, my entire line to Sheridan's left, was, almost simultaneously, attacked by a heavy force of the enemy. The attack in front of Davis and Sheridan was repulsed several times; and had not the heavy attacking columns of the enemy on my right succeeded so well, my line could have been maintained, and the enemy driven back to his barricades, which extended from the Wilkinson pike, with but a short interval, three-fourths of a mile beyond the Franklin road. General Sheridan's division was ably manoeuvred by him, under my own eye.

As soon as it became evident that my lines would be compelled to give way, orders were given to re-form my line in the first skirt of timber, in the rear of my first position. The enemy advancing so rapidly on my right, I found this impossible, and changed the point of re-forming my line to the high ground in rear of the Wilkinson pike.

Moving to the left of my line, and in rear of Sheridan's division, I here met General Rousseau, in a cedar-wood, posting his division to repel the attack. I then ordered my line to fall still further back, and form on the right of Rousseau. I gave General Johnson orders, in person, to form his division in rear of Rousseau; Rousseau's division having been withdrawn to the open ground in rear of the cedar-woods, the last position became untenable, and my troops were retired to the Nashville pike, where my wing, except Shaeffer's brigade of Sheridan's division, was reassembled and replenished with ammunition. On arriving at the pike, I found Colonel Harker's brigade, of Wood's division, retiring before a heavy force of the enemy. I immediately ordered Roberts' brigade, of Sheridan's division, to advance into a cedar-wood, and charge the enemy and drive hire back. Although this brigade was reduced in numbers, and having but two rounds of cartridges, it advanced to the charge, under the gallant Colonel Bradley, driving the enemy back with the bayonet, capturing two guns and forty prisoners, and securing our communication on the Murfreesboro pike at this point. This brigade is composed of the Twenty-second, Forty-second, Twenty-seventh, and Fifty-first Illinois. The Twenty-seventh particularly distinguished itself.

About eleven o'clock A. M., Colonel Moses B. Walker's brigade arrived upon the field, and reported to me for duty. They were assigned to General Sheridan's command, to whose report I refer for the good conduct of this brigade.

On the afternoon of the thirty-first, the right wing assumed a strong position; its left, composed of Walker's brigade, resting near a commanding knoll, the line running nearly north-west along the slope of a ridge, covered with cedar growth, the right resting on the Murfreesboro pike. On the slope strong barricades were erected, which could have been well defended by single lines. The second line, Gibson's brigade (late Willich's), was used as a reserve. The right wing, excepting Davis' division and Gibson's brigade, did not participate in any general engagements after the thirty-first. There was constant skirmishing in my front till the night of the third.

On the fourth, the enemy left his position in front of the right, and evacuated Murfreesboro the night of the same day. On the sixth, the right wing marched to its present camp, two miles and a half south of Murfreesboro, on the Shelbyville pike.

The reports of Generals Johnson, Davis, and Sheridan, division commanders, are herewith inclosed. Accompanying General Johnson's report, you will find the reports of the brigade, regimental, and battery commanders, carefully prepared.

I have been thus particular on account of the commanding General's dispatch to the General-in-Chief, and also from erroneous reports sent to the public by newspaper correspondents. The attention of the General commanding is particularly called to the reports of Colonels Gibson and Dodge; also, to Lieutenant-Colonel Jones' report, who commanded the pickets in front of Willich's brigade.

Captain Edgarton, commanding battery of Kirk's brigade, certainly was guilty of a great error in taking even a part of his horses to water at such an hour. He is in the hands of the enemy, and therefore no report can be had from him at present.

In a strict compliance with my orders, and the knowledge I possessed of the position of the enemy, which was communicated to my superior and the Generals under my command, I could not have made a better disposition of my troops.

On subsequent examination of the field, I found the statements of the citizens referred to in my report correct, as the barricades,extended fully three-fourths of a mile beyond the Franklin road. I am well satisfied that Hardee's corps, supported by McCown's division (late of Kirby Smith's corps), attacked Kirk's and Willich's

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Murfreesboro (Tennessee, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
31st (3)
30th (1)
6th (1)
4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: