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Rebel reports and Narratives.

Gen. Bragg's official despatches.

We assailed the enemy at seven o'clock this morning, and after ten hours hard fighting have driven him from every position except his extreme left, where he has successfully resisted us. With the exception of this point, we occupy the whole field. We captured four thousand prisoners, including two brigadier-generals, thirty-one pieces of artillery, and some two hundred wagons and teams. Our loss is heavy; that of the enemy much greater.

Braxton Bragg, General Commanding.

Murfreesboro, January 1, 1863.
General S. Cooper:
The expedition under General Forrest has fully accomplished its object. The railroads are broken [166] in various places. A large amount of stores has been destroyed, many arms captured, and one thousand two hundred prisoners paroled. Gen. Morgan has done his work, but the full effect is not known. The enemy in Tennessee and Mississippi are without railroad and telegraphic communication with their rear.

Murfreesboro, January 1, 1863.
The enemy has yielded his strong point and is falling back. We occupy the whole field and shall follow. General Wheeler, with his cavalry, made a complete circuit of their army on the thirtieth and thirty-first. He captured and destroyed three hundred wagons loaded with baggage and commissary stores, and paroled seven hundred prisoners. He is again behind them, and has captured an ordnance train. To-day he secured several thousand stand of small arms. The body of Brigadier-Gen. Sill was left on the field, and three others are reported to have been killed. God has granted us a happy New Year.

Murfreesboro, January 2, 1863.
The enemy retired last night but a short distance in rear of his former position. We had a short and sharp contest this evening. We drove his left flank from its position, but an attacking party again returned, with considerable loss to both sides.

Gens. Wheeler and Wharton were again in their rear yesterday, and captured two hundred prisoners, one piece of artillery, and destroyed two hundred loaded wagons.

Tullahoma, January 5, 1863.
Unable to dislodge the enemy from his intrenchments, and hearing of reenforcements to him, I withdrew from his front night before last. He has not followed. My cavalry are close on his front.

Chattanooga, Tenn., January 5, 1863.
To General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General, C. S. A.:
sir: We have retired from Murfreesboro in perfect order. All the stores are saved. About four thousand Federal prisoners, five thousand stand of small arms, and twenty-four pieces of cannon, brass and steel, have already been received here.

B. S. Ewell, A. A. G.

Rebel plan of the battle.

The following instructions were issued by Gen. Bragg to his army before the battle:

1. The “line of battle” will be in front of Murfreesboro — half of the army, left wing in front of Stone River; right wing in rear of the river.

2. Polk's corps will form left wing; Hardee's corps right wing.

3. Withers's division will form first line on Polk's corps; Cheatham's the second; Breckinridge's division forms first line in Hardee's corps; Cleburne's division the second line.

4. McCown's division to form reserve opposite centre, on high ground, in rear of Cheatham's present quarters.

5. Jackson's brigade in reserve to the right flank to report to Lieut.-Gen. Hardee.

6. The two lines to be from eight hundred to one thousand yards apart, according to the ground.

7. Chiefs of artillery to pay special attention to the positing of batteries, seeing that they do not carelessly waste ammunition.

8. Cavalry to fall back gradually before the enemy, reporting by courier every hour. When near our line, Wheeler will move to the right and Wharton to the left, to cover and protect our flanks and report movements of enemy. Pe gram to fall in the rear and report to Commanding General as a reserve.

9. To-night, if the enemy has gained his position in front ready for action, Wheeler and Wharton, with their whole commands, will make a night march to the right and left, turn the enemy's flank, gain his rear, and vigorously assail his trains and rear-guard, blocking the road and impeding his movements in every way, holding themselves ready to assail his retreating forces.

10. All quartermasters, commissaries, and ordnance-officers will remain at their proper posts, discharging their appropriate duties. Supplies and baggage should be ready packed for a move forward or backward, as the results of the day may require, and the trains should be in position out of danger, teamsters all present, and quarter masters in charge.

11. Should we be compelled to retire, Polk's corps will move on Shelbyville, and Hardee's on the Manchester pike — trains in front, cavalry in rear.

Braxton Bragg, General Commanding. George G. Garner. A. A. General.

General Bragg's official report.

headquarters army of Tennessee, Tullahoma, 23d Feb. 1863.
sir: On the twenty-sixth of December last, the enemy advanced in force from Nashville to attack us at Murfreesboro. It had been well ascertained that his strength was over sixty thousand effective men. Before night on that day the object of the movement was developed by our dispositions in front, and orders were given for the necessary concentration of our forces there distributed as follows:

Polk's corps and three brigades of Breckinridge's division, Hardee's corps at Murfreesboro. The balance of Hardee's corps were at Eagleville, about twenty miles west from Murfreesboro; McCown's division, (which with Stevenson's division, removed, constituted Smith's corps,) at Readville, twelve miles east of Murfreesboro.

The three cavalry brigades of Wheeler, Wharton, and Pegram, occupying the entire front of our infantry and covering all approaches within ten miles of Nashville. Buford's small cavalry brigade of about six hundred at McMinnville. The brigades of Forrest and Wagoner, about five thousand effective cavalry, were absent on special service in West-Tennessee and Northern Kentucky, [167] as will be more fully noticed hereafter. Jackson's small infantry brigade was in the rear guarding the railroad from Bridgeport, Alabama, to the mountains.

On Sunday, the twenty-eighth, our main force of infantry and artillery was concentrated in front of Murfreesboro, whilst the cavalry, supported by three brigades of infantry and three batteries of artillery, impeded the advance of the enemy by constant skirmishing and sudden, unexpected attacks. To the skilful manner in which the cavalry thus ably supported were handled, and to the exceeding gallantry of its officers and men, must be attributed the four days time consumed by the enemy in reaching the battle-field, a distance of only twenty miles from his encampment, over fine macadamized roads.

Fully aware of the greatly superior numbers of the enemy, as indicated in my early reports from this quarter, it was our policy to await attack. The position was selected and line developed with this intention, owing to the convergence upon our depot of so many fine roads by which the enemy could approach, as will appear from the inclosed map marked “I.” We were confined in our selection to a line near enough the point of junction to enable us to successfully cover them all until the real point of attack should be developed.

On Monday, the twenty-ninth, it was reported that heavy columns moved on both direct roads from La Vergne and the one leading into the Lebanon road by way of Jefferson. But the Jefferson pike was abandoned by a counter-march, and the whole force of the enemy were concentrated on and near the direct road on the west of Stone River. The disposition made for the unequal contest will appear from the inclosed map marked “two,” and a copy of memoranda to General and statffofficers marked “three.” These arrangements were all completed before the enemy crossed Stewart's Creek, nine miles out, and the infantry brigades were at once called in, and the cavalry was ordered to fall back more rapidly — having most gallantly discharged its duty, and fully accomplislied the objects desired. Late on Monday it became apparent the enemy was extending to the right, to flank us on the left. MeCown's division — in reserve was promptly thrown to that flank, and added to the command of Lieut.-Gen. Polk. The enemy not meeting our expectations of making an attack on Tuesday, which was consumed in artillery-firing and heavy skirmishing, with the exception of a dash late in the evening on the left of Withers's division, which was repulsed and severely punished, it was determined to assail him on Wednesday morning, the thirty-first.

For this purpose, Cleburn's division, Hardee's corps, was moved from the second line on the right, to the corresponding position on the left, and Lieut.-Gen. Hardee was ordered to that point and assigned to the command of that and McCown's division.

This disposition — the result of necessity — left me no reserve; but Breckinridge's command on the right, not now threatened, was regarded as a source of supply for any reenforcements absolutely necessary to other parts of the field. Stone River at its low stage was fordable at almost every point for infantry, and at short intervals perfectly practicable for artillery.

This disposition completed, Lieut.-Gen. Hardee was ordered to assail the enemy at daylight on Wednesday, the thirty-first, the attack to be taken up by Gen. Polk's command in succession to the right flank, the move to be made by a constant wheel to the right on Polk's right flank as a pivot; the object being to force the enemy back on Stone River, and, if practicable, by the aid of cavalry cut him off from his base of operations and supplies by the Nashville pike. The lines were now bivouacked at a distance in places of not more than five hundred yards, the camp-fires of the two being within distinct view. Wharton's cavalry brigade had been held on our left to watch and check the movements of the enemy in that direction, and to prevent his cavalry from gaining the railroad in our rear, the preservation of which was of vital importance. In this he was aided by Brig.-Gen. A. Buford, who had a small command of six hundred new cavalry. The duty was most ably, gallantly, and successfully performed.

On Monday night, Brig.-Gen. Wheeler proceeded with his cavalry brigade and one regiment from Pegram's, as ordered, to gain the enemy's rear. By Tuesday morning, moving on the Jefferson pike around the enemy's left flank, he had gained the rear of the whole army, and soon attacked the trains, their guards, and the numerous stragglers. He succeeded in capturing several hundreds of wagons loaded with supplies and baggage. After clearing the road, he made his way entirely around and joined the cavalry on our left.

The failure of Gen. McCown to execute, during the night, an order for a slight change in the line of his division, and which had to be done the next morning, caused some delay in the general and vigorous assault by Lieut.-General Hardee. But about seven o'clock, the rattle of musketry and the roar of artillery announced the beginning of the conflict. The enemy was taken completely by surprise; general and staff-officers were not mounted; artillery horses not hitched and infantry not formed; a hot and inviting breakfast of coffee and other luxuries, to which our gallant and hardy men had long been strangers, was found upon the fire unserved, and was left whilst we pushed on to the enjoyment of a more inviting feast, that of captured artillery, flying battalions, and hosts of craven prisoners begging for the lives they had forfeited by their acts of brutality and atrocity.

Whilst thus routing and pushing the enemy on his front, Lieut.-General Hardee announced to me by a messenger that the movement was not being as promptly executed by Major-Gen. Cheatham's command on his right, the left of General Polk's corps, as he expected, and that his line was completely exposed to an enfilade fire from the enemy's [168] my's artillery in that point. The necessary instructions for prompt movement at that point were immediately despatched, and in a short time our whole line except Breckinridge's command was warmly engaged. From this time we continued to drive the enemy more or less rapidly until his line was thrown entirely back at right ranges to his first position, and occupied the cut of the railroad along which he had massed his reserves and posted very strong batteries. (A reference to the map Number Two will show the second and strong positions.)

The enemy's loss was very heavy in killed and wounded, far exceeding our own, as appeared from a critical examination of the field, now almost entirely in our possession. Of artillery alone we had secured more than twenty-five pieces.

Whilst the infantry and artillery were yet engaged in this successful work, Brig.-Gen. Wharton with his cavalry command was most actively and gallantly engaged on the enemy's right and rear, where he inflicted a heavy loss in killed and wounded, captured a full battery of artillery endeavoring to escape, and secured and sent in near two thousand prisoners.

These important successes and results had not been achieved without heavy sacrifices on our part, as the resistance of the enemy, after the first surprise, was most gallant and obstinate.

Finding Lieut.-Gen. Hardee so formidably opposed by the movements of the enemy to his front, reenforcements for him were ordered from Major-General Breckinridge, but the orders were countermanded, as will hereafter appear, and Polk's corps was pressed forward with vigor, hoping to draw the enemy back or rout him on the right, as he had already been on the left.

We succeeded in driving from every position except the strong one held by his extreme left flank, resting on Stone River, and carried by a concentration of artillery of superior range and calibre, which seemed to bid us defiance. The difficulty of our general advance had been greatly enhanced by the topography of the country. All parts of our line had to pass in their progress over grounds of the roughest character, covered with huge stones and studded with the densest growth of cedar, the branches reaching the ground and forming an almost impassable “brake.” Our artillery could rarely be used, while the enemy, holding defensive lines, had selected formidable positions for his batteries, and the dense cover for his infantry, from both of which he had to be dislodged by our infantry alone.

The determined and unwavering gallantry of our troops, and the uninterrupted success which attend their repeated charges against their stronghold, defended by double their numbers, fully justified the unbounded confidence I have ever reposed in them and had so often expressed. To meet our successful advance and retrieve his losses in the front of his left, the enemy early transferred a portion of his reserve from his left to that flank, and by two o'clock had succeeded in concentrating such a force on Lieut.-Gen. Hardee's front as to check his further progress. Our two lines had by this time become almost blended, so weakened were they by losses, exhaustion, and extension to cover the enemy's whole front As early as ten o'clock A. M. Major-Gen. Breckinridge was called on for one brigade, and soon after a second, to reenforce or act as a reserve to Lieut.-Gen. Hardee. His reply to the first call represented the enemy crossing Stone River in heavy force in his immediate front, and on receiving the second order, he informed me that they had already crossed in heavy force, and were advancing to attack his lines. He was immediately ordered not to await attack, but to advance and meet them. About this same time a report reached me that a heavy force of the enemy's infantry was advancing on the Lebanon road, about five miles on Breckinridge's front. Brig.-Gen. Pegram, who had been sent to that road to cover the flank of the infantry with his cavalry brigade, two regiments detached with Wheeler and Wharton was ordered forward immediately to develop any such movement. The orders from the two brigades of Breckinridge were countermanded, whilst dispositions were made at his request to reinforce him. Before this could be carried out, the move ordered disclosed the fact that no force had crossed Stone River; that the only enemy in our immediate front then was a small body of sharp-shooters, and that there was no advance on the Lebanon road. These unfortunate misrepresentations on that part of the field which, with proper caution, could not have existed, withheld from active operations three fine brigades until the enemy had succeeded in checking our progress, had reestablished his lines, and had collected many of his broken battalions. Having now settled the question that no movement was being made against our right, and none to be apprehended, Breckinridge was ordered to leave two brigades to support the battery at “A,” on his side of Stone River — and with the balance of the force to cross to the left and report to Lieut.-General Polk. By the time this could be accomplished it was too late to send this force to Lieut.-Gen. Hardee's support, who was unable to make further progress, and he was directed to maintain his position. Lieut.-General Polk was directed with these reinforcements to throw all the force he could collect upon the enemy's extreme left, and thereby either carry that strong point which had so far resisted us so successfully — or failing in that, at least to draw off from Hardee's front the formidable opposition there concentrated. The three brigades of Jackson, Preston, and Adams were successively reported for their work.

How gallantly they moved to their task, and how much they suffered in the determined effort to accomplish it, will better appear from reports of subordinate commanders, and the statement of the losses therewith.

Upon this flank, their strongest defensive position resting on the river-bank, the enemy had concentrated not less than twenty pieces of artillery, masked almost from view, but covering an [169] open space in front of several hundred yards, supported right and left and rear by heavy masses of infantry. This position proved impracticable, and after two unsuccessful efforts, the attempt to carry it by infantry was abandoned. Our heaviest batteries of artillery and rifled guns of long range were now concentrated in front, and their fires opened upon this position. After a cannonade of some time, the enemy's fire slackened, and finally ceased near nightfall. Lieut.-Gen. Hardee had slightly retired his line from the farthest point he had attained, for better position and cover, without molestation from the enemy. Lieut.-Gen. Polk's infantry, including the three reinforcing brigades, uniting their front with Hardee's right, and extending to our extreme right flank, formed a continuous line, very nearly perpendicular to the original line of both — then leaving nearly the whole field with all its trophies, the enemy's dead and many of his wounded, his hospitals and stores in our full possession. The body of Brig.-Gen. Sill, one of their division commanders, was found where he had fallen, and was sent to town and decently interred, though he had forfeited all claim to such consideration by the acts of cruelty, barbarity and atrocity, but a few days before committed under his authority on the women and children and old men living near the road on which he had made a reconnoissance.

During the afternoon, Brig.-Gen. Pegram, discovering a hospital and large numbers of stragglers in the rear of the enemy's lines and across Stone River, charged them with his cavalry and captured about one hundred and seventy prisoners.

Both armies, exhausted by a conflict of full ten hours duration, rarely surpassed for its continued intensity and heavy losses sustained, sunk to rest with the sun, and perfect quiet prevailed for the night.

At dawn on Thursday morning, the first of January, orders were sent to the several commanders to press forward their skirmishers, feel the enemy, and report any change in his position. Major-Gen. Breckinridge had been transferred to the right of Stone River to resume the command of that position, now held by two of his brigades. It was soon reported that no change had occurred, except the withdrawal of the enemy from the advanced position occupied by his left flank. Finding, upon further examination, that this was the case, the right flank of Lieut.-Gen. Polk's corps was thrown forward to occupy the ground for which we had so obstinately contended the evening before. This shortened our lines considerably, and gave us possession of the centre battlefield, from which we gleaned the spoils and trophies throughout the day, and transferred them rapidly to the rear.

A careful reconnoissance of the enemy's position was ordered, and the most of the cavalry was put in motion for the roads in his rear, to cut off his trains and develop any movement. It was soon ascertained that he was still in very heavy force all along our front, occupying a position strong by nature, and improved by such work as could be done at night by his reserves.

In a short time reports from the cavalry informed me that heavy trains were moving toward Nashville, some of the wagons loaded, and all the ambulances filled with wounded. These were attacked at different places; many wagons were destroyed, and hundreds of prisoners paroled. No doubt this induced the enemy to send large escorts of cavalry, artillery, and infantry with later trains, and then the impression was made on our ablest commanders that a retrograde movement was going on.

Our forces, greatly wearied and much reduced by heavy losses, were held ready to avail themselves of any change in the enemy's position ; but it was deemed unadvisable to assail him as there established. The whole day after these dispositions was passed without an important movement on either side, and was consumed by us in gleaning the battle-field, burying the dead and replenishing ammunition.

At daylight on Friday, the second, orders to feel the enemy and ascertain his position were repeated, with the same result. The cavalry brigades of Wheeler and Wharton had returned during the night, greatly exhausted from long continued service, with but little rest or food to either man or horse. Both commanders reported the indications, from the enemy's movements, the same. Allowing them only a few hours to feed and rest, and sending the two detached regiments back to Pegram's brigade, Wharton was ordered to the right flank, across Stone River, to assume command in that quarter, and keep me advised of any change. Wheeler, with his brigade, was ordered to gain the enemy's rear again, and remain until he could definitely report whether any retrograde movement was being made.

Before Wharton had taken his position, observation excited my suspicions in regard to a movement having been made by the enemy across Stone River, immediately in Breckinridge's front. Reconnoissance by several staff-officers soon developed the fact that a division had quietly crossed, unopposed, and established themselves on and under cover of an eminence, marked “B” on the map Number Two, from which Lieut.-Gen. Polk's line was commanded and enfiladed. The dislodgment of this force or the withdrawal of Polk's line was an evident necessity. The latter involved consequences not to be entertained. Orders were accordingly given for the concentration of the whole of Major-Gen. Breckinridge's division in front of the position to be taken. The addition to his command of the ten Napoleon guns (twelve-pounders) under Capt. F. H. Robertson, an able and accomplished artillery officer, and for the cavalry forces of Wharton and Pegram, about two thousand men, to join in the attack on his right. Major-Gen. Breckinridge was sent for, and advised of the movement and its objects, the securing and holding the position which protected Polk's flank, and gave us command of the enemy's by which to enfilade him. He was informed of the forces [170] placed at his disposal, and instructed, with them, to drive the enemy back, crown the hill, intrench his artillery, and hold the position.

To distract their attention from our real object, a heavy artillery-fire was ordered to be opened from Polk's front, at the exact hour at which the movement was to begin; at other points throughout both lines, all was quiet. Gen. Breckinridge, at half-past 3 P. M., reported he would advance at four. Polk's batteries promptly opened fire, and were soon answered by the enemy. A heavy cannonade of some fifteen minutes was succeeded by the musketry, which soon became general. The contest was short and severe; the enemy was driven back and the eminence gained; but the movement as a whole was a failure, and the position was again yielded. Our forces were moved, unfortunately, so far to the left as to throw a portion of them into and over Stone River, where they encountered heavy masses of the enemy, whilst those against whom they were intended to operate on our side of the river, had a destructive enfilade on our whole line. Our second line was so close to the first as to receive the enemy's fire, and returning it took their friends in the rear. The cavalry force was left entirely out of the action. Learning from my own staff-officers, sent to the scene, of the disorderly retreat being made by Gen. Breckinridge's division, Brig.-General Patton Anderson's fine brigade of Mississippians, the nearest body of troops, was promptly ordered to his relief. On reaching the field and moving forward, Anderson found himself in front of Breckinridge's infantry, and soon encountered the enemy's light troops, close upon either side our artillery, which had been left without support. This noble brigade, under its cool and gallant chief, drove the enemy back and saved all the guns not captured before its arrival. Capt. F. H. Robertson, after the disabling wound received by Major Graves, chief of artillery, took the entire charge of the artillery of the division, in addition to his own. To his gallantry, energy, and fear of lessness, is due the smallness of our loss sustained before the arrival of support, only three guns. His report herewith, marked “Four,” will show the important part he played in this attack and repulse. Before the end of the whole movement it was quite dark. Anderson's command held a position next the enemy, corresponding nearly with our original line, whilst Breckinridge's brigade commanders collected their scattered men as far as practicable in the darkness, and took irregular positions on Anderson's left and rear. At daylight in the morning, they were moved forward to the front, and the whole line was established without opposition. During the night Gen. Cleburn's division was re-transferred to its original position on the right, and Lieut.-Gen. Hardee directed to resume command there and restore our line.

On Saturday morning, the third, our forces had been in line of battle five days and nights, with but little rest, having no reserves; their baggage and tents had been loaded and the wagons were four miles off; their provisions, if cooked at all, were most imperfectly prepared with scanty means; the weather had been severe from cold and almost constant rain, and we had no change of clothing, and in many places could not have fire.

The necessary consequence was the great exhaustion of both officers and men, any having to be sent to the hospitals in the rear, the more still were beginning to straggle from their commands, an evil from which we had so far suffered but little. During the whole of the day the rain continued to fall with little intermission, and the rapid rise in Stone River indicated that it would soon be unfordable. Late on Friday night I had received the captured papers of Major-General McCook, commanding one corps d'armee of the enemy, showing their effective strength to have been very nearly if not quite seventy thousand men. Before noon reports from Brig.-General Wheeler satisfied me that the enemy, instead of retiring, was receiving reenforcments.

Common prudence and the safety of my army, upon which even the safety of our cause depended, left no doubt in my mind as to the necessity for my withdrawal from so unequal a contest. My orders were accordingly given about noon for the movement of the train and for the necessary preparations of troops.

Under the efficient management of the different staff departments every thing had been secured and transferred to the rear, including prisoners captured, artillery and small arms, subsistence, means of transportation, and nearly all of our wounded able to bear moving. No movement of any kind was made by the troops during this most inclement day, until just at night, when a sharp skirmish occurred between Polk's right and the enemy's left flank, resulting in nothing decisive. The only question with me was, whether the movements should be made at once or delayed twenty-four hours to save a few of our wounded. As it was possible that we should lose by exhaustion as many as we should remove the wounded, my inclination to remain was yielded. The whole force, except the cavalry, was put in motion at eleven o'clock P. M., and the army returned in perfect order to its present position beyond Duck River, without receiving a single shot. Our cavalry held the position before Murfreesboro until Monday morning, the fifth, when it quietly retired, as ordered, to cover our front.

We left one thousand two hundred badly wounded, one half of whom we have since heard have died from the severity of their wounds; about three hundred sick, too feeble to bear transportation, and about two hundred well men and officers as medical attendants. In addition to this, the enemy had captured about eight hundred prisoners from us. As the one thousand two hundred wounded are counted once under that head among our losses, they should be expunged from the general total. As our offset to this loss, we had received, as will appear from the report of my Inspector-General herewith marked “5,” considerably over six thousand prisoners, had captured over thirty pieces of cannon, six thousand stand [171] of small arms, ambulances, mules and horses, with a large amount of other valuable property, all of which was secured and appropriated to proper uses. Besides all this secured, we destroyed not less than eight hundred wagons, mostly laden with various articles, such as arms, ammunition, provisions, baggage, clothing, medicine and hospital stores. We had lost only three pieces of artillery, all in Breckinridge's repulse. A number of stands of colors, nine of which are forwarded with this report, were also captured on the field. Others known to have been taken have not been sent in. The list, marked “6,” is here — with transmitted.

A tabular statement of our forces, marked “7,” is herewith transmitted, showing the number of fighting men we had in the field on the morning of the thirty-first of December, to have been less than thirty-five thousand, of which thirty thousand were infantry and artillery. Our losses are also reported in this same comprehensive table, so as to show how much each corps, division and brigade suffered, and in case of Breckinridge's division, the losses are reported separately for Wednesday and Friday. These reports are minute and suggestive, showing the severity of the conflict, as well as where, when, and by whom sustained.

Among the gallant dead the nation is called to mourn, none could have fallen more honored or regarded than Brig.-Gen. Jas. E. Rains and R. M. Hanson. They yielded their lives in the heroic discharge of their duties, and leave their honored names as a rich legacy to their descendants. Brig.-Gen. J. R. Chalmers and D. W. Adams received disabling wounds on Monday--I am happy to say not serious, but which deprived us of their valuable services. Having been under my immediate command since the beginning of the war, I can bear evidence to their devotion and to the conspicuous gallantry which has marked their services on every field.

For the sacred names of the heroes and patriots of lower grades that gave their lives, illustrating the character of the confederate soldiers on this bloody field, I must refer to the reports of subordinate commanders and to the list which will submitted. Our losses, it will be seen, exceeded ten thousand, nine thousand of whom were killed or wounded.

The enemy's loss we have no means of knowing with certainty. One corps commanded by Major-General Thomas L. Crittenden, which was least exposed in the engagement, report over five thousand killed and wounded. As they had two other corps, and a separate division, third of a corps, and their cavalry, it is safely estimated at three thousand killed and sixteen thousand wounded. Adding the six thousand two hundred and seventy-three prisoners, and we have a total of twenty-five thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

Lieut.-Gen. L. Polk and W. J. Hardee, commanding corps, Major-Gens. J. M. Withers and P. R. Cleburn, commanding divisions, are specially commended to their government for their valor, skill, and ability displayed by them throughout the engagement. Brig.-General J. Patton Anderson for his coolness, judgment, and courage with which he interposed his brigade between our retreating forces and the enemy, largely superior in numbers, on Friday evening, and saved our artillery, is justly entitled to special mention.

Brig.-Generals Joseph Wheeler and John A. Wharton, commanding cavalry brigades, were preeminently distinguished throughout the engagement, as they had been for a month previous in many successive conflicts with the enemy. Under their skilful and gallant lead, the reputation of our cavalry has been justly enhanced. For the just commendation of the officers, many of whom were preeminently distinguished, I must refer their more immediate commendation.

To the private soldier a fair word of praise is due, and though it is so seldom given, and so rarely expected, that it may be considered out of place. I cannot, in justice to myself, withhold the opinion ever entertained, and so often expressed during our struggle for independence.

In the absence of instructions and discipline of our armies, and of the confidence which long associations produce between veterans, we have in a great measure to trust to the individuality and self-reliance of the private soldiers, without the incentive or the motive which controls the officer who hopes to live in history, without the hope of reward, actuated only by a sense of duty and patriotism, he has in this great contest justly judged that the cause was his own, and gone into it with a determination to conquer or die, to be free or not to be at all; no encomium is too high, no honor too great for such a soldier. However much of credit and glory may be given, and probably justly given, to the leaders in the struggle, history will yet award the main honor, when it is due( to the private soldier, who, without hope of reward, and with no other incentive than a conscientiousness of rectitude has encountered all the hardships, and has suffered all the privations.

Well has it been said: The first monument our confederacy raises, when our independence shall have been won, should be a lofty shaft, pure and spotless, bearing this inscription: “To the unknown and unrecorded dead.” The members of my staff arduously engaged in their several duties before, during and since the prolonged engagement, are deserving of mention in this report. Lieut.-Colonels George Garner and G. W. Brent, and Captain P. H. Thompson, Adjutant-General's Department; First Lieutenants Towson, Ellis, and S. Parker, regular Aids-de-Camp; Lieut.-Colonel Baird, Inspector-General; Lieut.-Col. A. J. Hays, P. A. Major; Major James Stainbridge, Louisiana Infantry, and Major Clarelate, Seventh Alabama volunteers; Acting Assistant Inspector-General; Lieut.-Colonel L. W. P. Bannon, Chief Quarter-master; Major J. J. Walker, Chief Commissary; Major F. Mallory and G. M. Hillyer, Assistants; Lieutenant-Colonel H. Alidouskin, Chief of Ordnance; Captains W. H. Warren and O. T. Gibbs, and Lieutenant W. F. Johnson, Assistants; Captain [172] S. W. Steele, Acting Chief of Artillery, and Lieutenants H. C. Forney and H. H. Buchanan, and J. R. P. McFair; Lieut.-Colonel J. H. Hollinguist, Acting Chief of Artillery; First Lieutenant R. H. T. Thompson, Assistant Surgeon; A. J. Foard, Medical Director; Surgeon G. A. Llewellen, Assistant Medical Director; Acting Surgeon T. G. Richardson, attendant on myself, staff and escort; Colonel David Urquhard, of Louisiana, J. Stoddard Johnson, of Kentucky, and Lieut. St. Leger Grenfel, of England, the two former volunteer aids, long on my staff, served me most effectively; Major E. M. Baylor, Assistant Quartermaster; Major B. C. Kennedy, Assistant Commissary of Subsistence, and Lieut. W. M. Bridges, aid-de-camp to the late Brigadier-General Duncan, reported just before the engagement, and joined my staff, on which they served through the battle. Col. M. L. Clark, of the artillery, P. A., living in Murfreesboro on temporary service, did me the honor to join and serve on my staff during the engagement. His Excellency, Isham G. Harris, Governor of Tennessee, and the Hon. Andrew Ewing, member of the Military Court, volunteered their services, and rendered efficient aid, especially with the Tennessee troops, largely in the ascendant in the army. It is but due to the zealous and efficient laborer of our cause that I here bear testimony to the cordial support given me at all times since meeting him a year ago in West-Tennessee, by his Excellency Governor Harris. From the field of Shiloh, where he received in his arms the dying form of the lamented Johnson, to the last struggle of Murfreesboro, he has been one of us, and has shared all our privations and dangers, whilst giving us his personal and political influence with all the power he possessed at the head of the State government.

To the medical department of the army, under the able administration of Surgeon Foard, great credit is due for the success which attended their labors. Sharing none of the excitement and glory of the field, these officers in their labor of love, devoted themselves assiduously in attending the sufferings of their brother soldiers at home, when others are seeking repose. The reports of subordinate commanders have been specially called for, and are soon expected, when they will be promptly forwarded.

During the time the operations at Murfreesboro were being conducted, important expeditions under Brig.-Gens. Forrest and Morgan, were absent in West-Tennessee and Northern Kentucky. The reports already forwarded, show the complete success which attended the gallant brigadiers, and I commend them to the confidence of the government and gratitude of the country.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Braxton Bragg, General Commanding. Gen. S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.

Chattanooga “daily rebel” account.

Murfreesboro, January 2, 1863.
In the mad whirl of Wednesday's battle, yesterday's intense expectancy, and to-day's uncertainty, a great deal was heard, felt, said, believed, hoped. I will tell you how it happened.

The Yankees came out from Nashville a week ago yesterday, with baggage marked to Bridgeport and Chattanooga.

A column confronted General Hardee's corps d'armee, say at Triune — another General Polk's advance at La Vergne. Heavy skirmishing Friday and Saturday last week, on both lines. Result found, on Sunday morning, a confederate battle-line, say six miles long, three to four miles in front of Murfreesboro, Yankees at Stewart's Creek, ten miles from there advancing upon Bridgeport and Chattanooga. That day and Monday we intrenched and got otherwise ready. Yankees approached slowly, getting ready too. They say fifty thousand strong — we “ragged rebels,” about thirty thousand.

Tuesday morning the artillery on both sides exchanged cold, distant guns of recognition; they then greeted, then, I may say, shook hands, and then got very warm generally, and kept up a most confoundedly brisk and noisy series of demonstrations till night. General Bragg calls it, I learn, an artillery duel. At about ten A. M., or sooner, both parties threw forward skirmishers, and they popped away at each other with what a beginner would call amazing resolution. At eleven and twelve o'clock it rained smartly, but the skirmishers kept on; when the clouds broke away, a brisk west wind, changing around to the north-west, made it cool, and the skirmishers became still more resolute. This occurred chiefly on our left, and indicated that the enemy was going to throw most of his weight in that direction, and so turn our position on that wing. Gen. Bragg, therefore, transferred Gen. Cleburn's division from our right to the left about sundown. Our forces at the close were disposed thus: the divisions of Gens. McCown and Cleburn on our left, Withers and Cheatham in the centre, and Breckinridge on the right.

A notable instance of Yankee impudence on this day must not be omitted. One of their regiments undertook to charge one of our batteries, Robertson's. They came up bravely and were nearly all shot down, and the remaining few ejaculated “river” and retired.

On Wednesday morning, at half-past 6, according to previous arrangement, the attack was brought on by a vigorous advance of our left. It was a surprise to the enemy, who was eating his breakfast. He flew to arms, and as best he could, formed his lines to receive us. Under the circumstances, he did it well, but our columns moved with so much precision and celerity that he was driven from point to point with most astonishing rapidity. Very soon McCown, Cleburn, Withers, and Cheatham were bearing down with an impetuosity and power utterly resistless. Battery after battery was charged, taken, and left behind the advancing legions. Through field and wood, over rocks and fences they swept with the fury of a whirlwind, pausing at nothing, but overcoming every thing that lay in their way with the [173] most unyielding courage and determination. It required such heroic pluck to do it, for the enemy generally maintained his order and poured torrents of lead and iron into our ranks. But at every stand and at every volley from him, our men compounded the interest with the loan, driving them still on and back. By one o'clock we had forced their entire right wing back upon their centre, and their centre back upon the right extremity of their left, doubling their lines up themselves, and in some measure massing them in a new position.

It must be remembered that all this fighting and driving was from their right to their left. The battle-line extending in a general direction from north to south, the pathway of the battle lay in the same direction. The enemy was, therefore, not a great way further from Bridgeport and Chattanooga at this point of time than in the morning when the battle opened. That is to say, he was not driven back westwardly upon Nashville. We seemed to have made a pivot of the right of our centre, and turned our line upon it, and by the fighting and driving, changed it from a north and south to a nearly east and west direction. The battle opened to the right and near the Murfreesboro and Salem turnpike, and at this period had passed across the Triune dirt road, the Wilkinson and Nolinsville turnpike, and approached the Nashville turnpike and the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Up to this time and this point our victory was complete and overwhelming. We had driven the foe some five or six miles, captured about four thousand prisoners, (including three generals,) some thirty or thirty-five pieces of artillery, and inflicted a loss upon the enemy treble our own, to say nothing of the small arms and personal equipage, strewn from Dan to Beersheba.

Here, however, the enemy rallied all his energies for a desperate struggle.. Fortune favored him, and the wily Rosecrans availed himself of the favor. In front of our right centre, say a mile distant, rose a naked oval hill, commanding in all directions — not very high, but exceedingly available. Upon this hill he placed a crown of twenty guns, more or less, immediately supporting them by a brigade of regulars, and holding an infinite number as a secondary support. In addition to this he had ranged other batteries on the slopes near the foot of the hill, raking the surrounding plain. Brig.-Gen. Chalmers, supported by Brig.-Gen. Donelson, was ordered to take the position. You can easily imagine the infinite danger of the charge, but you can scarcely imagine the steady heroism with which these devoted men advanced to it, and made it. The storm which poured upon them, including all the short-range missiles was incredibly severe. Our shattered columns stood in the midst of that tempest long enough to bring off two of the batteries. It is not for me to say that Chalmers broke or that Donelson stood fearlessly immovable. The whole, for my purpose, did admirably. Gen. Breckinridge, who held our right, north of Stone River, and who had not been previously engaged, was now ordered across, with a view of relieving our wearied columns and taking the hill. The brigades of Gens. Adams and Jackson were formed and sent forward. They imitated the coolness and courage of their predecessors, going forward with the utmost alacrity and firmness. They met the same tempest of shell, grape, canister, and musketry, and recoiled. They again rallied, and rushing with almost superhuman devotion, completely enveloped by the tornado, reached within, perhaps, an hundred paces of the coveted object, but were again repulsed. The batteries of Cobb and Byrne, I believe, aided these charges by a simultaneous bombardment of the hill. Night was now closing in, and we were compelled to relinquish the attempt to take this stronghold, and darkness closed that day, and gave to history one of the bloodiest chapters of the war.

Such was the battle of Wednesday--such the triumph of confederate arms, a victory glorious and complete as far as it went, but it was not consummate. We thought at one time that the Yankees were as good as routed, but it appears they were not. We thought they would skedaddle that night, but they did not. But they did one thing that night, and that was to leave the hill for which we had so hard a struggle, and retired their line from that point some half a mile back. This fact suggests that it was really untenable by reason of some weakness somewhere, and this suggestion may in turn suggest the inquiry, why was not this weakness discovered by us. I will not make the inquiry.

Now, will you take my arm and walk over the battle-field, and have me point you the devastation, the stark dead, the suffering stricken, the storm-swept forests and fields, and all that? Excuse me. There are those taking notes of all that, to print. But I will go with you to give sepulture to our blessed, our heroic dead ; in sadness and silence we go, however. We will bind up the wounds and minister to the wants of those noble men who suffer and are patient for their dear country's sake. But let us also do that softly and in whispers.

Thursday was a bright day. Time lines still confronted. Rosecrans had formed his lines a little south of the Nashville turnpike, gradually diverging from it, still holding his right where it rested on Wednesday, and making nearly a right angle. He is sullen and morose he speaks occasionally in the tones of artillery, in reply to some promptings from us. In the evening the pickets exchanged compliments. He intrenches; the blue-coats work like beavers. They are great on trenches, and great in fortifications. I suppose you have observed as much.

Friday--the same as Thursday, with an exception. Rosecrans advances his left across Stone River, where it runs northwardly. In the afternoon, say three o'clock, Gen. Breckinridge, with our right, advances also. Till (lark they fought with very great desperation and very close. It was exceedingly bloody. We drove them across the river, but encountered so vast a body, so securely posted, that we retired to our position [174] again. Our loss, for numbers engaged, was very heavy. It was here General Hanson received his almost fatal wound.

Since Wednesday morning, our cavalry, under Generals Wheeler and Wharton, have been very active. They have made a complete circuit of the enemy twice, capturing and destroying several hundred wagons loaded with munitions and supplies, the enemy's stores at La Vergne and Nolinsville, about a thousand head of horses and mules, besides killing a number of the Yankees, including a brigadier-general, and taking several hundred prisoners. On Wednesday, they rendered great service in picking up and securing prisoners, and the captures of artillery, etc., then made. Bravo for Wheeler and Wharton, and their gallant cavaliers. They reported yesterday and this evening that the movements of the enemy in the rear, his trains, etc., were indicative of a speedy retreat; but no such indications appear on his front lines. On the contrary, his intrenching goes on, and his advance across the river to-day might be construed into a purpose to stay where he is until rested, preparatory to continuing his journey to Bridgeport and Chattanooga.

As addendum I must mention an incident of Wednesday's battle. Gen. Alexander McDowell McCook's headquarters were at the chateau of a gentleman resident in the rear of their lines. He commanded the enemy's right wing. When he heard the first sound of our attack, he was engaged in shaving. He instantly rose, saying, without addressing any body, in a confused and excited manner: “That is contrary to orders!” He ordered his horse to be brought without delay, and turning to the gentleman in whose house he was, hurriedly asked: “Who is opposing me to-day?” “Major-General Cheatham.” General McCook, turning ashy pale and trembling from some nameless emotion, rejoined: “Is it possible that I have to meet Cheatham again!” He mounted his horse and rode away, without finishing the interesting operation in which he was engaged at the battle's alarum. That day General Wharton came along with his cavalry, and took charge of all Gen. McCook's baggage, and I really haven't heard whether he is done shaving yet. He had met Cheatham at Perryville, and it is possible he foresaw what was in store for the right wing that day.


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