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[493] cavalry in advance, soon reported the road clear, and the march was resumed without obstruction, until the entire command reached the Wilkinson pike, six miles from Murfreesboro.

The division bivouacked during the night at Overall's Creek, three and a half miles from Murfreesboro, the left brigade resting on the Wilkinson pike. On the morning of the thirtieth, the division moved .forward and took position on General Sheridan's right, about three hundred yards south of and parallel to the Wilkinson pike, in which position it remained until two o'clock P. M. A few companies of skirmishers thrown to the front, in a skirt of timber land, soon found those of the enemy, and for several hours a brisk skirmish was kept up with varying results.

About two o'clock P. M., the General commanding ordered a general advance of the whole line. This the enemy seemed at first disposed to resist only with his skirmishers; gradually, however, as both parties strengthened their lines of skirmishers, the contest became more animated. Our main lines steadily advanced, occupying and holding the ground gained by the skirmishers, until about half an hour before sunset, when the enemy's position was plainly discovered running diagonally across the old Murfreesboro and Franklin road. The enemy's batteries now announced our close proximity to their lines. Carpenter's and Hotchkiss's batteries were soon brought into opposition and opened fire. Woodruft's and Carlin's brigades by this time felt the fire of the enemy's main lines and responded in the most gallant manner.

Post's brigade, moving steadily forward on the right, after a most obstinate resistance on the part of the enemy, succeeded in driving his skirmishers from a strong position in our front, forcing them to retire upon their main lines. Night soon brought a close to the conflict. Receiving directions at this time, from General McCook, to desist from any further offensive demonstration than what might be necessary to hold my position, 1 ordered the troops to rest for the night on their arms. Two brigades of General Johnson's division, heretofore held in reserve, arrived and took position on my right about sunset, thus extending our line of battle beyond the old Franklin and Murfreesboro road. These brigades were commanded by Generals Willich and Kirk.

The night passed off quietly until about day-light, when the enemy's forces were observed by our pickets to be in motion. Their object could not, however, with certainty be determined until near sunrise, when a vigorous attack was made upon Willich's and Kirk's brigades. These troops seemed not to have been fully prepared for the assault, and, with little or no resistance, retreated from their position, leaving their artillery in the hands of the enemy. This left my right brigade exposed to a flank movement, which the enemy was now rapidly executing, and compelled me to order Post's brigade to fall back and partially change its front. Simultaneous with this movement the enemy commenced a heavy and very determined attack on both Carlin's and Woodruff's brigades.

These brigades were fully prepared for the attack, and received it with veteran courage. The conflict was fierce in the extreme on both sides. Our loss was heavy, and that of the enemy no less. It was, according to my observations, the best contested point of the day, and would have been held but for the overwhelming force moving so persistently against my right. Carlin finding his right flank being severely pushed and threatened with being turned, ordered his troops to retire. Woodruff's brigade succeeded in repulsing the enemy, and holding its position until the withdrawal of the troops on both its flanks compelled it to retire.

Pinney's battery, which was posted in an open field upon my extreme right, and ordered to be supported by a part of Post's brigade, now opened a destructive fire upon the enemy's advancing lines. This gallant and distinguished battery, supported by the Twenty-second Indiana and Fifty-ninth Illinois regiments, together with a brigade of General Johnson's division, commanded by Colonel Baldwin (Sixth Indiana volunteers), for a short time brought the enemy to a check on our right. Hotchkiss's battery had also, by this time, taken an excellent position near the Wilkinson pike, so as to command the enemy's approach across a large cotton-field in his front, over which he was now advancing. The infantry, however, contrary to expectations, failed to support this battery, and after firing a few rounds was forced to retire. In accordance with instructions received during the night, announcing the plan of operations for the day, I desisted from any further attempts to engage the enemy except by skirmishers thrown to the rear for that purpose, until my lines had reached within a few hundred yards of the Nashville and Murfreesboro pikes, when I again determined to re-form my lines to resist his further advance. To this order but few of the regiments responded, their ranks being much thinned by killed and wounded, and not a few availed themselves of the favorable opportunity offered by the dense woods through which we were compelled to pass, to skulk like cowards from the ranks.

The reserve force here moved to the front, and relieved my command from any further participation in the engagement until late in the afternoon, when, in compliance with instructions, I took position on the right. My skirmishers were immediately thrown out, and soon engaged the enemy's, until night brought a close to hostilities for the day.

During the first and second of January, the division occupied this position in skirmishing with the enemy's pickets until late in the afternoon of the second, when I received orders from General Rosecrans to hasten to the support of a part of General Crittenden's command, who had been some time hotly engaged with the enemy across the river, on our extreme left.

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