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[176] looking the field of action. He had also re-formed the broken lines of the right and center and called in twelve thousand fresh troops. Then, after a brief lull, the battle opened again and the ranks of both sides were torn with grape and canister and bursting shells.

In answer to Bragg's call for reenforcements came Breckinridge with all but one brigade of his division, a host of about seven thousand fresh troops. The new Confederate attack began slowly, but increased its speed at every step. Suddenly, a thundering volley burst from the line in blue, and the front ranks of the attacking column disappeared. Again, a volley tore through the ranks in gray, and the assault was abandoned.

The battle had raged for nearly eleven hours, when night enveloped the scene, and the firing abated slowly and died away. It had been a bloody day — this first day's fight at Stone's River — and except at Antietam it had not thus far been surpassed in the war. The advantage was clearly with the Confederates. They had pressed back the Federals for two miles, had routed their right wing and captured many prisoners and twenty-eight heavy guns. But Rosecrans determined to hold his ground and try again.

The next day was New Year's and but for a stray fusillade, here and there, both armies remained inactive, except that each quietly prepared to renew the contest on the morrow. The renewal of the battle on January 2nd was fully expected on both sides, but there was little fighting till four in the afternoon. Rosecrans had sent General Van Cleve's division on January 1st across the river to seize an elevation from which he could shell the town of Murfreesboro. Bragg now sent Breckinridge to dislodge the division, and he did so with splendid effect. But Breckinridge's men came into such a position as to be exposed to the raking fire of fifty-two pieces of Federal artillery on the west side of the river. Returning the deadly and constant fire as best they could, they stood the storm of shot and shell for half an hour when they retreated to a place

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