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[491] near those of the enemy. My Third brigade, Colonel Baldwin commanding, was held in reserve. In consultation with General McCook, late in the afternoon of the thirtieth, he informed me that he had reliable information to the effect that the centre of the rebel line of battle was opposite to our extreme right, and that we would probably be attacked by the entire rebel army early on the following morning. His prediction proved true. He also informed me that he had communicated this information to the commanding General. I expected a change in the programme for the following day, but none was made. My brigade commanders were called together, and the operations of the following day fully explained to them. Every arrangement was made for an attack. Two gallant and experienced officers commanded my two advance brigades, and every precaution was taken against surprise.

At twenty-two minutes past six o'clock on the morning of the thirty-first, the outposts in front of my division were driven in by an overwhelming force of infantry, outnumbering my forces greatly, and known to contain about thirty-five thousand men. At the same time my extreme right was attacked by the enemy's cavalry. The gallant Kirk and Willich soon opened up a heavy fire of musketry and artillery on the advancing columns, causing wavering in the ranks; but fresh columns would soon replace them, and it was apparent that to fall back was a “military necessity.” Edgarton's battery, after firing three rounds, had so many of his horses killed as to render it unmanageable. He, however, remained with it, and continued to fire, until he fell by a severe wound, and he and his battery fell into the hands of the enemy. Before falling back, the horse of General Willich was killed, and he was wounded and taken prisoner. About the same time, General Kirk received a severe wound, which disabled him. Seeing the pressure upon my lines, I ordered up my reserve brigade, under the gallant Baldwin. The troops of his brigade advanced promptly, and delivered their fire, holding their ground for some time; but they, too, were compelled to fall back. The troops of this division, for the first time, were compelled to yield the field temporarily, but the heroes of Shiloh and Perryville did not abandon their ground until forced to do so by the immense masses of the enemy hurled against them, and then inch by inch.

The ground over which the division passed, covered with the enemy's dead and those of our own men, shows that the field was warmly contested. Several times the lines were re-formed and resistance offered; but the columns of the enemy were too heavy for a single line, and ours would have to yield. Finally the left flank of my division reached the line of General Rousseau's, when it was re-formed and fought until out of ammunition, but my efficient Ordnance Officer, Lieutenant Murdoch, had a supply in readiness, which was soon issued, and the division assisted in driving the enemy from the field in their last desperate struggle of the day. Soon the curtain of darkness fell upon the scene of blood, and all was quiet, awaiting the coming of morn to renew hostilities.

Morning came, but the enemy had withdrawn. January first was a day of comparative quiet in camp, few shots being fired, but many preparations made for a heavy battle on the following day. General Crittenden's wing was attacked in force on the second, and one of my brigades, Colonel Gibson's, was sent to reinforce them. For the gallant part taken by it reference is made to the report of Major-General Crittenden. The enemy evacuated Murfreesboro on the night of the third. On the sixth I was ordered to move my camp to a point on the Shelbyville road, four miles south of Murfreesboro.

The conduct of the officers and men under my command was good. The Louisville Legion, under the command of the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Berry, brought off by hand one cannon, after the horses were killed. They yielded the ground only when overpowered, offering an obstinate resistance at every point. Some few in each regiment, becoming panic-stricken, fled to Nashville for safety. Captain Simonson managed his battery with skill and courage, and with it did good execution. He lost two guns, but not until the horses had been killed and the guns disabled. Goodspeed's battery lost three guns and quite a number of horses. This battery was handled well and did good execution, under Lieutenant Belden.

After the capture of General Willich, his brigade was commanded temporarily by Colonel Wallace, of the Fifteenth Ohio, but was afterward commanded by Colonel W. H. Gibson, Forty-ninth Ohio. General Kirk becoming disabled was replaced by Colonel Dodge, Thirtieth Indiana, while the Third brigade was commanded by Colonel Baldwin. These four Colonels have demonstrated their fitness for command on several bloody fields, and are recommended to my superiors for promotion. Their coolness and courage rendered them conspicuous throughout the bloody engagement. Major Klein and his battalion of the Third Indiana cavalry, deserve special mention; under their gallant leader, the battalion was always in front, and rendered efficient service.

To Captains Barker, Hooker, Thurston, and McLeland; Lieutenants Taft, Hills, and Sheets, of my staff, many thanks are due for their efficiency and promptness in carrying orders to all parts of the field. My Medical Director, Surgeon Marks, and the medical officers of the division, were untiring in their exertions to alleviate the sufferings of the wounded, and to them my thanks are due. My escort, composed of the following named men of the Third Kentucky cavalry, who accompanied me throughout the engagement, deserve special mention for their good conduct: Sergeant Wm. C. Miles; privates Geo. Long, Thomas Salyers, John Christian, John Whitten, James Bowen, B. Hammerslein, R. A. Novah.

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