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to be established in strong force in a dense cedar wood, just beyond an open valley, which varied from two hundred to four hundred yards in width, the cedars extending the entire length of the valley. From the events of the day and evening of the 30th, it was apparent that the two armies were in close proximity, and orders received during the night revealed the fact that Rosecrans intended to attack by throwing his left on the enemy's right, with the expectation of driving it in toward Murfreesere almost identical; but Bragg took the initiative, beginning his movement about an hour earlier than the time set by Rosecrans, which gained him an immense advantage in execution in the earlier stages of the action. During the evening of the 30th, feeling keenly all the solicitude which attends one in anticipation of a battle, I examined my position with great care, inspecting its whole length several times to remedy any defects that might exist, and to let the men see that I was alive to
y behind Duck River to Shelbyville and Tullahoma-and but little endeavor was made to follow him. Indeed, we were not in condition to pursue, even if it had been the intention at the outset of the campaign. As soon as possible after the Confederate retreat I went over the battle-field to collect such of my wounded as had not been carried off to the South and to bury my dead. In the cedars and on the ground where I had been so fiercely assaulted when the battle opened on the morning of the 31st, evidences of the bloody struggle appeared on every hand in the form of broken fire-arms, fragments of accoutrements, and splintered trees. The dead had nearly all been left unburied, but as there was likelihood of their mutilation by roving swine, the bodies had mostly been collected in piles at different points and inclosed by rail fences. The sad duties of interment and of caring for the wounded were completed by the 5th, and on the 6th I moved my division three miles south of Murfreesb
January 2nd (search for this): chapter 14
nd demolished his adversary's plan the moment we were thrown on the defensive. Had Bragg followed up with the spirit which characterized its beginning the successful attack by Hardee on our right wing-and there seems no reason why he should not have done so-the army of Rosecrans still might have got back to Nashville, but it would have been depleted and demoralized to such a degree as to unfit it for offensive operations for a long time afterward. Bragg's intrenchments in front of Stone River were very strong, and there seems no reason why he should not have used his plain advantage as explained, but instead he allowed us to gain time, intrench, and recover a confidence that at first was badly shaken. Finally, to cap the climax of his errors, he directed Breckenridge to make the assault from his right flank on January 2, with small chance for anything but disaster, when the real purpose in view could have been accomplished without the necessity of any offensive manoeuvre whatever.
January 3rd (search for this): chapter 14
nother feeble charge on my front, but our fire from the barricades and rifle-pits soon demoralized his advancing lines, which fell back in some confusion, thus enabling us to pick up about a hundred prisoners. From this time till the evening of January 3 Bragg's left remained in our front, and continued to show itself at intervals by weak demonstrations, which we afterward ascertained were directly intended to cover the desperate assault he made with Breckenridge on the left of Rosecrans, an asto withdraw General Polk's corps behind Stone River and finally abandon Murfreesboroa. The sequel proved this to be the case; and the ill-judged assault led by Breckenridge ending in entire defeat, Bragg retired from Murfreesboroa the night of January 3. General Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboroa on the 4th and 5th, having gained a costly victory, which was not decisive enough in its character to greatly affect the general course of the war, though it somewhat strengthened and increased our
During the evening of the 30th, feeling keenly all the solicitude which attends one in anticipation of a battle, I examined my position with great care, inspecting its whole length several times to remedy any defects that might exist, and to let the men see that I was alive to their interests and advantages. After dark, I went back to the rear of my reserve brigade, and establishing my headquarters behind the trunk of a large fallen tree, which would shelter me somewhat from the cold December wind, lay down beside a small camp-fire to get some rest. At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 31st General Sill came back to me to report that on his front a continuous movement of infantry and artillery had been going on all night within the Confederate lines, and that he was convinced that Bragg was massing on our right with the purpose of making an attack from that direction early in the morning. After discussing for a few minutes the probabilities of such a course on the part of the
December 30th (search for this): chapter 14
in Kentucky, renewed the drooping spirits of the East Tennesseans, and demoralized the disunionists in Middle Tennessee; yet it was a negative victory so far as concerned the result on the battlefield. Rosecrans seems to have planned the battle with the idea that the enemy would continue passive, remain entirely on the defensive, and that it was necessary only to push forward our left in order to force the evacuation of Murfreesboroa; and notwithstanding the fact that on the afternoon of December 30 McCook received information that the right of Johnson's division resting near the Franklin pike, extended only to about the centre of the Confederate army, it does not appear that attack from that quarter was at all apprehended by the Union commanders. The natural line of retreat of the Confederates was not threatened by the design of Rosecrans; and Bragg, without risk to his communications, anticipated it by a counter-attack of like character from his own left, and demolished his adv
December 31st (search for this): chapter 14
creek, but General Rosecrans, fortunately for the army, decided to remain where he was. Doubtless reflections during his ride caused him to realize that the enemy must be quite as much crippled as himself. If it had been decided to fall back to Overall's creek, we could have withdrawn without much difficulty very likely, but such a retrograde movement would have left to the enemy the entire battle-field of Stone River and ultimately compelled our retreat to Nashville. In the night of December 31 several slight demonstrations were made on my front, but from the darkness neither party felt the effect of the other's fire, and when daylight came again the skirmishers and lines of battle were in about the same position they had taken up the evening before. Soon after daybreak it became evident that the conflict was to be renewed, and a little later the enemy resumed the offensive by an attack along my left front, especially on Walker's brigade. His attempt was ineffectual, however,
December, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 14
colored servant, who also cut from their coats every insignia of rank. Then, after there had been read to the command an order from army headquarters dismissing the four from the service, the scene was brought to a close by drumming the cowards out of camp. It was a mortifying spectacle, but from that day no officer in that division ever abandoned his colors. My effective force in the battle of Stone River was 4,154 officers and men. battle of Stone River (Murfreesboroa), Tenn., December, 1862, January, 1863 Third division: (Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps) Brigadier-General Philip H. Sheridan. escort: Second Kentucky Cavalry, Co. L. Lieutenant Joseph T. Forman. first brigade: (1) Brigadier-General Joshua W. Sill. (2) Colonel Nicholas Greusel. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (1), Colonel Nicholas Greusel. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (2), Major Silas Miller. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (3), Captain Porter C. Olson. Eighty-Eighth Illinois, Colonel Francis T. Sherman. Twenty-First Michigan, Lieuten<
January, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 14
who also cut from their coats every insignia of rank. Then, after there had been read to the command an order from army headquarters dismissing the four from the service, the scene was brought to a close by drumming the cowards out of camp. It was a mortifying spectacle, but from that day no officer in that division ever abandoned his colors. My effective force in the battle of Stone River was 4,154 officers and men. battle of Stone River (Murfreesboroa), Tenn., December, 1862, January, 1863 Third division: (Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps) Brigadier-General Philip H. Sheridan. escort: Second Kentucky Cavalry, Co. L. Lieutenant Joseph T. Forman. first brigade: (1) Brigadier-General Joshua W. Sill. (2) Colonel Nicholas Greusel. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (1), Colonel Nicholas Greusel. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (2), Major Silas Miller. Thirty-Sixth Illinois (3), Captain Porter C. Olson. Eighty-Eighth Illinois, Colonel Francis T. Sherman. Twenty-First Michigan, Lieutenant-Colonel Wil<
ois (1), Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Swanwick. Twenty-Second Illinois (2), Captain Samuel Johnson. Twenty-Seventh Illinois (1), Colonel Fazilo A. Harrington. Twenty-Seventh Illinois (2), Major William A. Schmitt. Forty-Second Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Nathan H. Walworth. Fifty-First Illinois (1), Colonel Luther P. Bradley. Fifty-First Illinois(2), Captain Henry F. Wescott. artillery: Captain Henry Hescock. First Illinois Battery, C. Captain Charles Houghtaling. Fourth Indiana Battery, Captain Asahel K, Bush. First Missouri Battery, G. Captain Henry Hescock. Battery C was attached to the Third Brigade; Fourth Indiana Battery to the First Brigade; and Battery G, First Missouri, to the Second Brigade. Of this number I lost 1,633 killed, wounded, and missing, or nearly 40 per cent. In the remaining years of the war, though often engaged in most severe contests, I never experienced in any of my commands so high a rate of casualties. The ratio of loss in the whole of Rosecrans's army
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