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[367] with three divisions will move on and support General Smith's right, assisting as far as possible, in carrying the left of the enemy's position, and be in readiness to throw his force upon the enemy the moment a favorable opportunity occurs. Major-General Wilson will also send one division on the Charlotte pike, to clear that road of the enemy and observe, in the direction of Bell's Landing, to protect our right rear until the enemy's position is fairly turned, when it will rejoin the main force.

Brigadier-General T. J. Wood, commanding Fourth Army Corps, after leaving a strong skirmish line in his works from Laurens Hill to his extreme right, will form the remainder of the Fourth corps on the Hillsboroa pike, to support General Smith's left, and operate on the left and rear of the enemy's advanced position on the Montgomery Hill.

Major General Schofield, commanding Twenty-third Army Corps, will replace Brigadier-General Kimball's division of the Fourth corps with his troops, and occupy the trenches from Fort Negley to Laurens Hill with a strong skirmish line. He will move with the remainder of his force in front of the works, and cooperate with General Wood, protecting the latter's left flank against an attack by the enemy.

Major-General Steedman, commanding District of the Etowah, will occupy the interior line in rear of his present position, stretching from the Reservoir on the Cumberland river to Fort Negley, with a strong skirmish line, and mass the remainder of his force in its present position, to act according to the exigencies which may arise during these operations.

Brigadier-General Miller, with the troops forming the garrison of Nashville, will occupy the interior line from the battery on hill two hundred and ten to the extreme right, including the enclosed work on the Hyde's Ferry road.

The Quartermaster's troops, under command of Brigadier-General Donaldson, will, if necessary, be posted on the interior line from Fort Morton to the battery on hill two hundred and ten.

The troops occupying the interior line will be under the direction of Major-General Steedman, who is charged with the immediate defence of Nashville during the operations around the city.

Should the weather permit, the troops will be formed to commence operations at six A. M. on the fifteenth, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

On the morning of the fifteenth December, the weather being favorable, the army was formed and ready at an early hour to carry out the plan of battle promulgated in the special field order of the fourteenth. The formation of the troops was partially concealed from the enemy by the broken nature of the ground, as also by a dense fog, which only lifted toward noon. The enemy was apparently totally unaware of any intention on our part to attack his position, and more especially did he seem not to expect any movement against his left flank. To divert his attention still further from our real intentions, Major-General Steedman had, on the evening of the fourteenth, received orders to make a heavy demonstration with his command against the enemy's right, east of the Nolensville pike, which he accomplished with great success, and some loss, succeeding, however, in attracting the enemy's attention to that part of his line, and inducing him to draw reinforcements from toward his centre and left. As soon as General Steedman had completed his movement, the commands of Generals Smith and Wilson moved out along the Harding pike, and commenced the grand movement of the day by wheeling to the left and advancing against the enemy's position across the Harding and Hillsboroa pikes. A division of cavalry (Johnson's) was sent at the same time to look after a battery of the enemy on the Cumberland river, at Bell's Landing, eight miles below Nashville. General Johnson did not get into position until late in the afternoon, when, in conjunction with the gunboats under Lieutenant Commander Ie Roy Fitch, the enemy's battery was engaged until after nightfall, and the place was found evacuated in the morning. The remainder of General Wilson's command, Hatch's division leading and Knipe in reserve, moving on the right of General A. J. Smith's troops, first struck the enemy along Richland creek, near Harding's house, and drove him back rapidly, capturing a number of prisoners, wagons, etc., and continuing to advance, while slightly swinging to the left, came upon a redoubt containing four guns, which was splendidly carried by assault, at one P. M., by a portion of Hatch's division, dismounted, and the captured guns turned upon the enemy. A second redoubt, stronger than the first, was next assailed and carried by the same troops that captured the first position, taking four more guns and about three hundred prisoners. The infanty — McArthur's division of General A. J. Smith's command — on the left of the cavalry, participated in both of the above assaults; and, indeed, the dismounted cavalry seemed to vie with the infantry who should first gain the works. As they reached the position nearly simultaneously, both lay claim to the artillery and prisoners captured.

Finding General Smith had not taken as much. distance to the right as I expected he would have done, I directed General Schofield to move his command (the Twenty-third corps) from the position in reserve to which it had been assigned, over to the right of General Smith, enabling the cavalry thereby to operate more freely in the enemy's rear. This was rapidly accomplished by General Schofield, and his troops participated in the closing operations of the day.

The Fourth corps, Brigadier-General T. J. Wood commanding, formed on the left of General A. J. Smith's command, and as soon as the latter had struck the enemy's flank, assaulted the Montgomery Hill, Hood's most advanced

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A. J. Smith (8)
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