previous next

[499] eventually making a hopeless, fruitless sacrifice of the whole division.

To retire, was but to cut our way through the ranks of the enemy. The order was given, and manfully executed; driving back the enemy in front, and checking his approaching columns in our rear.

All the regiments in my command distinguished themselves for their coolness and daring, frequently halting and charging the enemy, under a withering fire of musketry.

On approaching General Rousseau's line, the battalion of regulars, under command of Major King, at my request, gallantly charged forward to our assistance, sustaining a severe loss in officers and men, in the effort.

Colonels Stanley and Miller now promptly re-formed their brigades, with the remaining portions of the batteries, and took position on the new line, as designated by Major-General Thomas.

Shortly afterward, the Twenty-ninth brigade was ordered to the left, to repel an attack from the enemy's cavalry upon the trains.

He troops remained in line all night and the next day in “order of battle” until noon, when the division was ordered to the right of General McCook's line, in expectation of an attack upon his front.

The next day (January two) at one o'clock P. M., my command was ordered to the support of General Crittenden, on the left, and took position in the rear of the batteries, on the west bank of Stone River.

About three P. M. a strong force of the enemy, with artillery, advanced rapidly upon General Van Cleve's division; which, after sustaining a severe fire for twenty or thirty minutes, fell back in considerable disorder; the enemy pressing vigorously forward to the river bank.

At this important moment, the Eighth division was ordered to advance, which it did promptly; the men crossing the river and charging up the steep bank with unflinching bravery. The Twenty-first, Eighteenth, Sixty-ninth, and Seventy-fourth Ohio, Nineteenth Illinois, Eleventh Michigan, Thirty-seventh Indiana, and Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania volunteers, displaying their usual promptness and gallantry. Four pieces of artillery and a stand of colors belonging to the Twenty-sixth (rebel) Tennessee, were captured at the point of the bayonet, also a large number of prisoners; the enemy retreating in disorder.

It is proper to mention here, that the artillery practice of Schultz's, Mendenhall's, Standart's, Wells', Marshall's, and Stokes' batteries, which were acting temporarily under my orders, in this engagement, was highly satisfactory, giving the enemy great tribulation.

The promptness displayed by Captain Stokes, in bringing his battery into action by my orders, and the efficient manner with which it was served, affords additional evidence of his marked ability and bravery as an officer and patriot. In the same connection, I feel permitted to speak in complimentary terms of the gallant Morton, and his pioneer brigade, which marched for ward under a scathing fire, to the support of my division.

The enemy having fallen back to his intrenchments, my division re-crossed the river and resumed its former position.

On the evening of the fourth, the Twenty-ninth brigade was moved forward to the north bank of Stone River, near the railroad, as an advanced force. On the same day, General Spears' First Tennessee brigade was assigned to the Eighth division. This brigade distinguished itself on the evening of the second, in a desperate charge on the enemy. On the morning of the fifth, I was ordered to take command of the advance, and pursue the enemy toward Murfreesboro.

By nine A. M., the Eighth division, Walker's brigade (pioneer brigade), and General Stanley's cavalry force had crossed the river and taken possession of Murfreesboro, without meeting any resistance; the rear guard of the enemy retreating on the Manchester and Shelbyville roads, our cavalry pursuing, supported by the Twenty-ninth brigade, on the Shelbyville pike, and by Colonel Byrd's First East Tennessee regiment, on the Manchester pike.

The rear guard of the enemy (three regiments cavalry and one battery) was overtaken on the Manchester, five miles from Murfreesboro. Colonel Byrd fearlessly charged this unequal force of the enemy, driving him from his position, with a loss of four killed and twelve wounded; enemy's loss not ascertained.

Our army marched quietly into Murfreesboro, the chosen position of the enemy, which he was forced to abandon after a series of desperate engagements. The joyful hopes of traitors have been crushed — treason receiving another fatal blow.

My command enthusiastically join me in expression of admiration of the official conduct of Generals Rosecrans and Thomas. During the most eventful periods of the engagements their presence was at the point of danger, aiding with their counsels and animating the troops by their personal bravery and cool determination.

I refer to my command with feelings of national pride for the living, and personal sorrow for the dead. Without a murmur, they made forced marches over almost impassable roads, through drenching winter rains, without blankets or a change of clothing; deprived of sleep or repose, constantly on duty for eleven days; living three days on a pint of flour and parched corn. Ever vigilant, always ready, sacrificing their lives with a contempt of peril, displaying the coolness, determination, and high discipline of veterans, they are entitled to our country's gratitude. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Tennessee, may proudly inscribe upon their scrolls of fame the names of the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania volunteers, Eighteenth, Twenty-first, Sixty-ninth, and Seventy-fourth Ohio, Schultz's and Marshall's (Ohio) batteries, the Eleventh Michigan, Nine-teenth

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 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.
January 2nd (1)
5th (1)
4th (1)
2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: