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[179] east side of Stone River, while the centre, commanded by Thomas, and the right by McCook, were posted on the west bank of the river. By the plan of the battle agreed upon, McCook was to hold the enemy in check on the right, at least for three hours, until Crittenden crossed Stone River, crushing the enemy's right to the east of the stream, and forced his way into Murfreesboro, taking the enemy in the flank and reverse, the unsupported rebel centre being exposed at the same time to the vigorous blows of Thomas.

This well-conceived programme, unfortunately, was unsuccessful, from the failure of McCook to maintain his position on our right, brigade after brigade being forced back by the enemy's heavy columns, with regimental front. This retrograde movement of the right caused Crittenden to suspend his march and support our forces on the west bank of the river, the battle on our part changing from the offensive to the defensive.

The day closed with our right and right centre about at right angles to the first line of battle, but leaving us masters of the original ground on our left, and our new line advantageously posted, with open ground in front swept at all points by our artillery.

Though in this day's engagement the enemy had been roughly handled, our loss in men and artillery had been heavy. On the first of January we routed in position the enemy's attack, but the day closed with no offensive operations except two demonstrations producing no results.

On the morning of the second the enemy opened four heavy batteries on our centre, and made a strong demonstration of attack a little further to the right, but a well-directed artillery fire soon silenced his batteries and put an end to his efforts there.

In the afternoon a vigorous attack was made on our left by heavy columns, battalion front, forcing us, after severe fighting, to cross to the west side of the river, from which side, a well-directed artillery fire, well supported by infantry, was opened with terrific havoc on the enemy's masses, inflicting a loss upon him in forty minutes of two thousand killed and wounded.

The defeated and flying enemy were pursued by five brigades, until after dark. We captured four pieces of artillery and a stand of colors. As a heavy rain on the morning of the third rendered the roads impassable to artillery, no pursuit was ordered, and the day terminated without further hostilities than brushing from our front the enemy's numerous sharp-shooters, which much annoyed us from the woods and their riflepits.

On the fifth we occupied Murfreesboro, and pursued the enemy six or seven miles toward Manchester, but the difficulty of bringing up supplies, and the great loss of artillery horses, was thought to render further pursuit inexpedient. Our loss in this battle was one thousand five hundred and thirty-three killed, seven thousand two hundred and forty-five wounded, and two thousand eight hundred missing, and twenty-eight pieces of artillery and a large number of wagons captured by the enemy. Reported rebel loss in killed and wounded was fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty. We captured six pieces of their artillery. After the battle of Murfreesboro, or Stone River, the enemy took position at Shelbyville and Tullahoma, and the winter and spring were passed in raids and unimportant skirmishes.

On the third of February, Generals Wheeler, Forrest, and Wharton invested Fort Donelson and demanded its capitulation. This was promptly refused by its commander, Colonel Harding. After an obstinate attack, which lasted all day, the rebels retired, with an estimated loss of nine hundred. Our loss in the fort was thirteen killed and fifty-one wounded.

On the fourth of March, Colonel Coburn, with one thousand eight hundred and forty-five men, attempted a reconnoissance from Franklin toward Springfield, encountering on his way Van Dorn's rebel column, estimated at seven thousand five hundred.

The enemy retreated, drawing Colonel Coburn into a gorge, where he was surrounded, and nearly all his force captured. Our loss was one thousand four hundred and six. That of the enemy one hundred and fifty killed and four hundred and fifty wounded.

On the twentieth of March, Colonel Hall, while on a reconnoissance, encountered and defeated the rebel General Morgan, with a force of three or four thousand. Our loss was fifty-five. The enemy left sixty-three on the field, but carried off his wounded, estimated at three hundred.

On the twenty-fifth March, the rebel General Forrest made a cavalry raid on the Nashville and Columbia Railroad, burning the bridge and capturing Colonel Bloodgood's command at Brentwood. General Green Clay Smith, arriving opportunely with about six hundred cavalry, attacked the enemy in the rear, and recovered a large portion of the property captured at Brentwood, pursuing the rebels to the Little Harpeth, where they were reenforced. His loss in this attack was four killed, nineteen wounded, and forty missing.

On the tenth of April, a guerilla force attacked a train near Lavergne, guarded by forty men. The cars were destroyed, and nearly half of the guard killed and wounded. At the same time Van Dorn, with a large mounted force, attacked Franklin, but was repulsed by Major-General Granger, with a loss of nineteen killed, thirty-five wounded left on the field, and forty-eight prisoners. Major-General Joseph J. Reynolds made a raid upon the Manchester and McMinnville Railroad, destroying depots, rolling-stock, supplies, and other property, and capturing one hundred and eighty prisoners. Colonel Straight, with about one thousand six hundred men, including reenforcements received from General Dodge at Tuscumbia, started on a raid into Georgia to cut the enemy's communications. After heavy losses in skirmishes with Forrest's cavalry, and when near its destination, he was forced to surrender.

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