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December 15.
The weather having moderated and the ground thawed sufficiently to enable men and animals to stand up, in obedience to the orders of Major-General Thomas, the provisional division of troops, under the command of Brigadier-General Cruft, moved at four o'clock A. M., and believed the troops of the Fourth and Twenty-third army corps, occupying their exterior line of works and picketing the front of this line from the Acklin Place to Fort Negley, and commanding the approaches to the city by the Granny White, Franklin and Nolensville turnpikes.

Brigadier-General J. F. Miller reported his command to me at four o'clock A. M., and occupied [87] the works from Fort Negley to the Lebanon pike, commanding the approaches to the city by the Murfreesboro, Chicken and Lebanon turnpikes.

Brigadier-General J. L. Donelson reported his command at six o'clock, and occupied the works from the right of General Cruft's command to the Cumberland river, commanding the approaches to the city by the Harding and Hillsboroa turnpikes.

Having thus disposed the troops as directed, for the protection of the city, fully commanding all its approaches, and rendering the public property and supplies secure against sudden attack from either flank, I moved out at half-past 6 o'clock A. M., in obedience to the orders of Major-General Thomas, with the Twelfth, Thirteenth and One Hundredth regiments of colored troops, under the command of Colonel Thompson, of the Twelfth colored; the Fourteenth, Seven-teenth, Forty-fourth and a detachment of the Eighteenth regiments. colored troops, under command of Colonel T. J. Morgan, of the Fourteenth colored; the Sixty-eighth Indiana volunteers, Eighteenth Ohio volunteers, and the Second battalion, Fourteenth army corps, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel C. H. Grosvenor, and the Twentieth Indiana and Eighteenth Ohio batteries to attack the enemy's right, employ his forces at that point, and as far as possible by my movements to mislead him as to real point of attack. The fog was very dense, and delayed, somewhat, movements on the entire line. A few minutes before eight, when the fog had partially cleared away, and all my dispositions had been made for attack, Brigadier-General W. D. Whipple, Chief of Staff of the Department of the Cumberland, instructed me, by order of Major-General Thomas, as to the time of attack. At eight o'clock, the time designated, the attack was made by the troops of Colonel Morgan and Lieutenant-Colonel Grosvenor, Colonel Morgan commanding — advancing from the Murfreesboro turnpike towards Riddler's Hill, rapidly driving in the pickets of the enemy and assaulting his line of works between the U. and C. railroad and the Murfreesboro turnpike. In this assault the troops behaved well, carrying a portion of the enemy's works, but as they were exposed to a destructive fire, (the enemy rapidly reenforcing that part of his line), and as my object was to deceive the enemy as to the purposes of the Major-General commanding, I withdrew this force and immediately re-formed it for an attack on a force occupying an earth-work, east of and within short musket range of the Raine's house.

This attack was made at eleven o'clock A. M., and resulted in my troops getting possession of the Raine's house and other adjacent brick outbuildings, which were loop-holed and held until the next morning. While these attacks were being made by the troops under Colonel Morgan, Colonel Thompson's command moved across Brown's creek, between the Nolensville and Murfreesboro turnpikes, and attacked and carried the left of the front line of works of the enemy, resting on the Nolensville pike. This portion of the enemy's line was held by Colonel Thompson's command until the morning of the sixteenth.

During the operations of my command against the enemy's right, General Cruft, holding the exterior line protecting the city, and watching vigilantly all the movements, saw an opportunity to use his artillery on a flying column of the enemy's troops, and promptly ordered the Twenty-fourth Indiana battery, Captain Sturm, to open, which he did with effect, scattering and demoralizing this force.

Darkness closed the operations of the day; all the orders I received from Major-General Thomas had been executed; his plans successfull, and victory crowned our efforts. Throughout the day, and until the action closed at dark, my command behaved nobly, making the several assaults ordered with cool, steady bravery, retiring only when ordered to do so. A portion of the command suffered severely, but no troops behaving as gallantly as they did, in assaulting fortified position, could have suffered less, or borne their losses more heroically.

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