General Rousseau's report.
battle of Murfreesboro, begun on the thirty-first ultimo, and ended on the third instant: Early on the morning of the thirtieth ult., in obedience to the order of Major-General Thomas, my division moved forward toward Murfreesboro from Stewartsboro, on the Nashville and Murfreesboro turnpike, about nine miles from the latter place. On the march forward several dispatches from General Rosecrans reached me, asking exactly where my command was, and the hour and minute of the day. In consequence we moved rapidly forward, halted but once, and that for only five minutes. About half past 10 o'clock A. M., we reached a point three miles from Murfreesboro, where Generals Rosecrans and Thomas were, on the Nashville and Murfreesboro turnpike, and remained during the day, and bivouacked at night. At about nine o'clock A. M., on the thirty-first, the report of artillery and the heavy firing of small arms on our right announced that the battle had begun by an attack on the right wing, commanded by Major-General McCook. It was not long before the direction from which the firing came, indicated that General McCook's command had given way and was yielding ground to the enemy. His forces seemed to swing round toward our right and rear. At this time General Thomas ordered me to advance my division quickly to the front to the assistance of General McCook. On reaching the right of General Negley's line of battle, General Thomas there directed me to let my left rest on his right, and to deploy my division off toward the right as far as I could, so as to resist the pressure on General McCook. We consulted and agreed as to where the line should be formed. This was in a dense cedarbrake, through which my troops marched in quick time to get into position before the enemy reached us. He was then but a few hundred yards to the front, sweeping up in immense numbers, driving everything before him. This ground was new and unknown to us all. The woods were almost impassable to infantry, and artillery was perfectly useless, but the line was promptly formed. The Seventeenth brigade, Colonel John Beatty commanding, on the left; the regular brigade, Lieutentant-Colonel O. L. Shepard commanding, on the right; the Ninth brigade, Colonel B. F. Scribner commanding, was placed perhaps a hundred yards in the rear and opposite the centre of the front line, so as to support either or both the brigades in front, as occasion might require. My recollection is that perhaps the Second and Thirty-third Ohio regiments filled a gap between General Negley's right and the Seventeenth brigade, occasioned by the effort to extend our lines far enough to the right to afford the desired aid to General McCook. The Twenty-eighth brigade, Colonel John C. Starkweather commanding, and Stone's battery of the First Kentucky artillery, were at Jefferson crossing on Stone River, about eight miles below. Our lines were hardly formed before a dropping fire from the enemy announced his approach. General McCook's troops, in a good deal of confusion, retired through our lines, and around our right, under a most terrific fire. The enemy in pursuit furiously assailed our front, and, greatly outflanking us, passed around to our right and rear. By General Thomas's direction I had already ordered the artillery, Loomis' and Guenther's batteries, to the open field in the rear. Seeing that my command was outflanked on the right, I sent orders to the brigade commanders to retire at once also to this field, and riding back myself, I posted the batteries on a ridge in the open ground parallel with our line of battle, and as my men emerged from the woods they were ordered to take position on the right and left, and in support of these batteries, which was promptly done. We had perhaps four or five hundred yards of open ground in our front. While the batteries were unlimbering, seeing General Van Cleve close by, I rode up and asked him if he would move his command to the right, and aid in checking up the enemy by forming on my left, and thus giving us a more extended line in that direction in the new position taken. In the promptest manner possible his line was put in motion, and in double-quick time reached the desired point in good season. As the enemy emerged from the woods in great force shouting and cheering, the batteries of Loomis and Guenther, double-shotted with canister, opened upon them. They moved straight ahead for awhile, but were finally driven back with immense loss. In a little while they rallied again, and, as it seemed, with fresh troops, again assailed our position, and were again, after a fierce struggle, driven back. Four deliberate and fiercely sustained assaults were made upon our position, and repulsed. During the last assault, I was informed that our troops were advancing on our right, and saw troops, out of my division, led by General Rosecrans, moving in that direction. I informed General Thomas of the fact, and asked leave to advance my lines. He directed me to do so. We made a charge upon the enemy and drove him into the woods, my staff and orderlies capturing some seventeen prisoners, including a Captain and Lieutenant, who were within one hundred and thirty yards of the batteries. This ended the fighting of that day, the enemy in immense force hovering in the woods during the night, while we slept upon our arms on the field of battle. We occupied this position during the three following days and nights of the fight. Under General Thomas's direction I had it intrenched by rifle-pits, and believe the enemy could not have taken it at all. During the day, the Twenty-eighth brigade, Colonel Starkweather, was attacked by Wheeler's cavalry in force, and some of the wagons of his train were burned before they reached him, having started that morning from Stewartsboro