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[487] Beatty, I turned to my Chief of Artillery, Captain John Mendenhall, and said, “Now, Mendenhall, you must cover my men with your cannon.” Without any show of excitement or haste, almost as soon as the order was given, the batteries began to open, so perfectly had he placed them. In twenty minutes from the time the order was received, fifty-two guns were firing upon the enemy. They cannot be said to have been checked in their advance; from a rapid advance they broke at once into a rapid retreat. Reinforcements soon began to arrive; our troops crossed the river and pursued the flying enemy until dark.

It is a pleasant thing to report that the officers and men from the centre and right wing hurried to the support of the left wing, when it was known to be hard pressed. General J. C. Davis sent a brigade at once without orders, then applied for and obtained orders to follow immediately with his division. General Negley, from the centre, crossed with a part of his division. General McCook, to whom I applied for a brigade, not knowing of Davis' movement, ordered immediately Colonel Gibson to go with his brigade, and the Colonel and the brigade passed at double-quick in less than five minutes after the request was made. Honor is due to such men. On the night of the second, General Hascall, with his division, and General Davis with his, camped a little in advance of the position which Beatty had occupied. General Palmer, commanding the Second division, camped with two brigades in reserve to Hascall's and Davis' divisions, and the remaining brigade, on this side of the river. In this position these troops remained until Saturday night, when the river beginning to rise, and the rain continuing to fall, it was feared we might be separated from the rest of the army, and all re-crossed the river except Palmer's two brigades, which remained, and did not come back until it was ascertained the next day (Sunday) that the enemy had evacuated Murfreesboro.

I feel that this report of the part taken by my command in the battle of Stone River is very imperfect. I have only endeavored to give a general outline of the most important features of the battle. The reports, however, of the division commanders, and the report of the Chief of Artillery, give a detailed and good account of the memorable incidents which occurred in this particular fight.

Reports of the division commanders show how nobly they were sustained by their subordinate officers, and all reports show how nobly the troops behaved. Generals Wood and Van Cleve, though wounded early in the battle of the thirty-first, remained in the saddle and on the field throughout the day, and at night were ordered to the rear; General Palmer, exposing himself everywhere and freely, escaped unhurt, and commanded the Second division throughout the battle. To these division commanders, I return my most earnest and heartfelt thanks, for the brave, prompt, and able manner in which they executed every order, and I most urgently present their names to the commanding General and to the Government, as having fairly earned promotion.

After the thirty-first, General Hascall commanded Wood's division, the First, and Colonel Beatty the Second, Van Cleve's. To these officers I am indebted for the same cheerful and prompt obedience to orders, the same brave support which I received from their predecessors in command; and I also respectfully present their names to the commanding General and the Government, as having earned promotion on the field of battle.

There are numerous cases of distinguished conduct in the brigade as well as regimental commanders, mentioned by my division commanders as meriting promotion. I respectfully refer the General commanding to division, brigade, and regimental reports, and solicit for the gallant officers and men who have distinguished themselves for conduct and bravery in battle, the honors they have won. We have officers who have commanded brigades for almost a year, though they have but the rank of Colonel; in such cases, and in all like cases, as where a Lieutenant commands a company, it seems, if the officers have capacity for their commands on the field, that they should have the rank the command is entitled to. The report of Captain Mendenhall, Chief of Artillery to the left wing, shows the efficiency, skill, and daring with which our artillery officers handled their batteries. Division and brigade commanders vie with each other in commendation upon different batteries. Some of the batteries, fighting as they did in parts of the field, won praises from all. To these officers, also, attention is called, with a sincere hope that they may be rewarded as their valor and bearing deserves.

Major Lyne Starling, Assistant Adjutant-General to the left wing, has been, for nearly eighteen months, the most indefatigable officer I ever knew in his department. His services to me are invaluable. On the field here, as at Shiloh, he was distinguished, even among so many brave men, for his daring and efficiency. Captain R. Loder, Inspector-General for the left wing, has entitled himself to my lasting gratitude, by his constant and able management of his department. It is sufficient to say that the gallant and lamented Colonel Garesche told him, in my presence, but a short time before the battle, that he had proved himself to be the best Inspector-General in the army. On the field of battle bravery was added to the same efficiency and activity which marked his conduct in the camp.

Captain John Mendenhall, who has been mentioned already as Chief of Artillery to my command, but of whom too much cannot be said, is also Topographical Engineer on my staff. In this capacity, as in all where he works, the work is well and faithfully done. His services at Shiloh, of which I was an eye-witness; his splendid conduct as Chief of Artillery to the left wing;

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