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[99] Tennessee, and thence by railroad to Nashville, Tennessee. reaching there with the Sixteenth and the main portion of the Fourteenth regiments, United States colored infantry, on the first day of December, 1864.

Colonel L. Johnson, with the Forty-fourth United States colored infantry, and Captain C. W. Baker, with companies A and D of the Four-teenth United States colored infantry, occupied the rear section of the train, which was transporting General Steedman's command to Nashville, Tennessee.

Seven miles north of Murfreesboro a train containing artillery and horses ran off the track and stopped the progress of the rear train, which for some reason, unexplained, was taken back to Murfreesboro with troops on board, a guard being left with the wrecked cars. During the night a construction train from Nashville removed the wreck and brought the remaining cars, horses, artillery, and guard at an early hour on the second ultimo to Nashville. At eight o'clock A. M., second ultimo, Colonel Johnson again started for Nashville, but when near Mill Creek, he was attacked by a rebel cavalry command, under General Forrest. The fight that ensued was quite creditable to the forces under Colonel Johnson. Colonel Johnson and Captain Baker are entitled to credit for the skill with which they fought and baffled the enemy and brought out their commands. I append the reports of those officers concerning this affair. Marked (A) (6).

During the second ultimo the portion of the brigade with me, conforming to the movements of General Cruft, occupied the extreme left of the first line of battle, formed near house of Robert Raine's, and constructed in its front, hastily, a line of defence — a breastwork of rails and earth with a light palisade in front.

On the third this line was abandoned and a new line established nearer the city, where the brigade — increased by the return of Colonel Johnson and Captain Baker, and the addition of a battalion of the Eighteenth United States colored infantry, under Major L. D. Joy--took position near the residence of Major William B. Lewis.

On December fifth and seventh reconnoissances were made by the brigade, in conjunction with other troops, and the enemy were found to occupy the first line of works, built by General Steedman near Raine's house. Each day the enemy was driven from the left of these works with slight loss to us.

On the fifth, one lieutenant and seven enlisted men of the enemy were captured by this brigade. A citizen living near the Murfreesboro pike, was killed by a member of B company, Sixteenth United States colored infantry. The report of Colonel Gaw concerning this is enclosed. Marked (C). The conduct of officers and men on those occasions — save the misconduct of Colonel Gaw, which was reported at the time — was, so far as came under my observation, good. The coolness of the enlisted men under fire was especially gratifying to me.

On the night of the fourteenth of December orders were received to move at daybreak, to make a demonstration upon the left, to occupy our first line of works near Raine's house, if practicable, and to strongly menace the enemy's right, to prevent the moving of his troops to resist the advance of the right of Federal army, when the main attack was to be made.

On the evening of the fourteenth, Colonel Gaw, by an unsoldierly process, succeeded in getting his regiment taken from the First brigade and ordered a safer place in the rear. An excellent regiment, Seventeenth United States colored infantry, under a brave and gallant officer, Colonel Shafter, reported to me, instead of the Sixteenth. Lieutenant-Colonel Grosvenor, commanding brigade of white troops, reported to me, and remained with me during the two days battle. I enclose Colonel Grosvenor's report of the part taken by his command. A section of artillery from Captain Osborn's (Twentieth Indiana) battery likewise was put under my charge.

In company with my Adjutant-General, during the night of the fourteenth ultimo, I visited the picket-line near the enemy's work, which it was designed to attack on the morning of the fifteenth. The Murfreesboro pike at this point runs a little east of south, nearly parallel with N. and C. R. R The line of works was built almost at right angles with these roads.

We ascertained from the pickets that the rebels had been at work actively during the after-noon with the spade, and that their line of fires extended well towards the south. I concluded that a curtain had been built to protect the flank of the work, and that a line of rifle-pits had been made on the ground marked by the fires, and that if these rifle-pits could be carried and a column pushed well to the rear, the works near Raine's house would become untenable, and the ground east of N. and C. R. R. be given up to us, with little loss.

Accordingly, on the morning of the fifteenth, when the fog, which lay like a winding-sheet over the two armies, began to disappear. I moved my command out upon the Murfreesboro pike and disposed it as follows: the Fourteenth colored infantry was deployed in front as skirmishers; the Seventeenth and Forty-fourth colored infantry were formed in line of battle, in rear of Fourteenth, and given in charge of Colonel Shafter, of the Seventeenth. The section of Captain Osborn, Twentieth Indiana battery, was supported by the battalion Eighteenth United States colored infantry, Major L. D. Joy. Colonel Grosvenor was directed to send one battalion of his command to guard the left flank, and to hold the remainder of the command in rear of Colonel Shafter.

The artillery then opened upon the enemy, and the lines moved forward. The Fourteenth advanced until they drew a severe fire, when


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