by your order I recrossed the river, leaving the Third brigade to guard the ford. With the First brigade I marched rapidly to the support of General Rousseau, whose division was hard pressed by the enemy. We formed in a wood on the south side of the Murfreesboro and Nashville turnpike. Our lines were no sooner formed than the enemy were seen advancing, driving before them our scattered troops. Our ranks were opened to suffer them to pass, when they closed and opened on the enemy with a withering fire, who were soon brought to a halt. A murderous fire was kept up on both sides about twenty minutes, when the enemy began to recoil. Our second line now relieving the first with a hearty cheer, the rebels broke and retreated. The Second brigade coming up at this moment, formed on the right and joined in the pursuit. We pressed the enemy through this wood, and across an open field, to another wood, where they appear to have met with reinforcements and re-formed. The Seventh Indiana battery, Captain Swallow, joined us on this open field, and rendered efficient aid. Here I received information from General Rosecrans that General Rousseau was driving the enemy, accompanied with an order for me to press them hard. At the same moment I was notified by a messenger from Colonel Harker, whose brigade was to my right and rear, that the enemy were in force on my right in a wood, and were planting a battery there. I immediately sent a message to Colonel Harker to press the enemy hard, as I had no reserve to protect my right; to Captain Swallow, who was doing good service with his battery, not to suffer it to be captured; to Colonel Beatty to send two regiments, if they could possibly be spared, to the support of Colonel Fyffe, and a fourth to General Crittenden to inform him of my critical situation. The enemy now poured a galling fire of musketry, accompanied with grape and shell, on our right. Colonel Fyffe's brigade, supported by Captain Swallow's battery, gallantly returned the fire, but being overpowered by numbers on front and flank, were soon compelled to retire, followed but a short distance by the enemy. Captain Swallow, to whom too much praise cannot be awarded, brought off his battery safely. Colonel Beatty, who had been pressing the enemy on the left, as soon as he learned the condition of affairs, retired in good order; with two of his regiments, was ordered by General Rosecrans to protect a battery on the Murfreesboro road; the remaining two regiments of his brigade and Colonel Fyffe's brigade were re-formed, and took a position on the left of General McCook's corps, and to the right of the Pioneer, which position we occupied without further adventure till after dark. I cannot close this report without inviting your attention to the gallantry displayed by those under my command during this engagement. To both officers and men too much praise cannot be awarded. I would particularly notice the coolness, intrepidity, and skill of my brigade commanders, Colonels Beatty and Fyffe, and of Captain Swallow, Chief of Artillery. To the members of my staff, Captain E. A. Otis, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captain C. H. Wood, Inspector-General; Captain William Starling, Topographical Engineer; Lieutenants T. F. Murdoch and H. M. Williams, Aids-de-Camp, I owe much for the promptness, faithfulness, and gallantry with which they executed my orders, and conveyed intelligence on the field. Sergeant R. B. Rhodes, of the First Ohio cavalry, in command of my escort, conducted himself like a true soldier, and deserves honorable mention. A slight wound received early this day, becoming exceedingly painful, on the following morning I was compelled to turn over the command of the division to Colonel Beatty, and retire from the field. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. P. Van Cleve, Brigadier-General.
Colonel Beatty's report.
headquarters Third division, camp near Murfreesboro, January, 1863.Major: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this division for the time embraced between the first and third days of January, 1863, inclusive: I was called — to the command of the division on the morning of January first, by General Van Cleve's disability, from the wound received in the battle of the preceding day. At three P. M. on that day, I received orders to cross Stone River with my command at the “upper ford,” and hold the hill overlooking the river near the ford. Accordingly, at daybreak the Third brigade, Colonel Price commanding, crossed the river at the place indicated, throwing out skirmishers and flankers. Colonel Price was quickly followed by Colonel Fyffe's brigade; the force being formed in two lines, the right retiring on the high ground near the river and east of the ford, and the left thrown forward so that the direction of the line should be nearly perpendicular to the river. In the meantime, the First brigade, Colonel Grider commanding, had been disposed as follows: Two regiments were formed in the hollow near the hospital, as a reserve, the other two remaining on the other side of the river to support a battery. The enemy's skirmishers were now discovered in a wood, distant half a mile or so from our first line, and occasional firing took place on both sides. Information of all these movements was sent to General Crittenden, who sent me word if I needed artillery to order up a battery. The Third Wisconsin battery, Lieutenant Livingston commanding, was accordingly, at about ten o'clock A. M., ordered to cross the river and remain in the hollow near the ford.
Major Lyne Starling, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Major Lyne Starling, Assistant Adjutant-General: