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Report of Colonel Gibson of operations of Adams' brigade.

headquarters Adams' brigade, Breckinridge's division, Hardee's corps,near Tullahoma, Tenn., January 24th, 1863.
Colonel T. O'Hara, A. A. G.:
Sir: On Friday, January 2d, while in command of Adams' brigade, I was ordered from the cedar brake on the left, where I was reporting to Brigadier-General Preston, commanding division of two brigades, to report to Major-General Breckinridge, our division commander, on the right of Stone river. I was placed in position by yourself, about one hundred and fifty yards in the rear of Brigadier-General Hanson's brigade, as a supporting line in the charge to be made.

In obedience to orders from General Breckinridge, I posted a reserve, consisting of the Thirty-second Alabama, Colonel McKinstry, and a battalion of Louisiana sharpshooters, Major Austin, under the command of Colonel Mc-Kinstry, in the position occupied by the second line when formed originally.

These dispositions had hardly been effected when the general advance began, and I immediately moved forward my line, consisting of the Thirteenth Louisiana consolidated regiment, Major Guillet, and the Sixteenth Louisiana consolidated regiment, Major Zacharie. The interval between the first and secondlines was very well preserved until the first became generally engaged with the enemy, when I at once halted the second line and ordered the officers and men to lie down, so as to cover them from the enemy's batteries, whose fire we were drawing. We drove in his skirmishers from the opposite side of the river. I then rode forward to the first line in the woods on the right to consult with General Hanson as to the particular moment when the second line [220] should come to his support. I had scarcely reached him when he was struck, and, I observed, so seriously wounded as to disable him from conferring with me. I determined not to engage the second line until the first gave way. General Hanson had hardly fallen, however, when his line began to yield, and after a few moments many of his men were falling to the rear. I saw that they needed support, and going back to the second line, instantly ordered the right regiment (Thirteenth Louisiana volunteers, Major Guillet,) to move by the right flank, in order to avoid the river, towards which we were marching, and then to advance in line of battle towards the woods; and having my horse disabled by a wound in riding back, I dispatched Captain Lipscomb to give the same order to Major Zacharie, commanding the Sixteenth Louisiana volunteers, already under the bank. I moved rapidly forward the right regiment and soon engaged the enemy, under heavy ire. I presumed that the Sixteenth was moving under the river bank on our left, in accordance with the order sent by Captain Lipscomb.

The woods were full of troops apparently in great confusion. Many of these formed on our line, and we advanced, driving the enemy before us beyond a ravine, on the further side of which was a picket fence. This ravine was filled with men broken from their commands, who were sheltered from the enemy, but such was their confusion, that they could accomplish nothing against him. I formed the fighting line on the rear side of the ravine, on the lower side of the crest, and by a well-directed volley poured into the advancing lines of the enemy, broke and dispersed it. When this first compact line gave way there was a momentary lull — a suspension of fire-and we prepared to charge; but, as if in the twinkle of an eye, another line of the enemy, extending far beyond our right, assumed the lost position. This was dispersed.

Presently a number of skirmishers appeared on our right, and we were fired upon from the left, on the opposite side of the river. The men in the ravine broke to the rear under these fires, that were aimed chiefly at them, and from which they appeared to suffer. There was perpetual skirmishing from the moment we entered the woods. Again, another line came on our front, which engaged us. I observed that our own right had given way, going through the open field on the right of us to the rear. I moved to our extreme left and saw the enemy was in heavy lines on the opposite bank, and already beginning to cross. I saw at once that we would be enveloped on the right and left. I ordered my command to fall back. It was a matter of doubt whether this could be accomplished successfully. Scarcely any one could enter the open field to our right and rear without being shot down, either by the infantry or by the batteries of the enemy. I should observe, that from the moment we approached the elevated ground near the river, the batteries of the enemy, posted on the opposite side, poured into our ranks without intermission.

As soon as he was driven from the high ground on this side his batteries played upon it. His batteries and infantry concentrated on every spot from [221] which he was driven. It was for this reason that after a sharp conflict of thirty minutes, and having won the position, we were forced to abandon it. And this accounts, too, for the extraordinary loss we sustained, and for the fact that nearly all our wounded and killed were left on the field. Under my own observation several parties bearing off wounded were shot down as soon as they entered the open field. Many, therefore, of those put down as missing, were killed or wounded in this affair. Out of twenty-eight officers who went into the fight, fourteen were wounded, and most of them severely, and as the event may prove, I fear, mortally. This was in the Thirteenth Louisiana volunteers, Major Charles Guillet, of whose conduct I cannot speak in terms too high. The regiment behaved throughout like veterans. Captains Ryan, Lipscomb, King, Bishop, and McGrath, and Lieut. Levy displayed distinguished steadiness and courage. The loss of this regiment was, in two short actions, lasting both together not more than an hour, say nineteen officers and three hundred and thirty-two men killed, wounded, and missing-losing as many as some brigades.

Major Zacharie's position enabled him to drive in the skirmishers of the enemy and to hold him in check in front of our batteries for some time. After entering the woods the fire of our own batteries, together with that of the enemy just opposite, and the immediate development of infantry in heavy force along the opposite bank below him, prevented any orders of mine from reaching him or his joining us. He moved up the river, recrossed and joined the reserve. I assembled the whole command on this line and held our position until our battery was secured and we moved, in obedience to orders, on the right of Brigadier-General Preston's brigade.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. L. Gibson, Colonel Commanding.

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Tullahoma (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Stone River (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)

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F. C. Zacharie (3)
Lipscomb (3)
Hanson (3)
Charles Guillet (3)
Adams (3)
Preston (2)
R. L. Gibson (2)
John C. Breckinridge (2)
Ryan (1)
T. O'Hara (1)
McKinstry (1)
McGrath (1)
Mc-Kinstry (1)
Levy (1)
Hardee (1)
J. E. Austin (1)
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January 24th, 1863 AD (1)
January 2nd (1)
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