The Army of the Cumberland
Henry M. Cist

Part 2 out of 5

with Rousseau's right near a barn on the right of the Maxville
road, extending to the left and across that road on a ridge through
a cornfield to the woods where the skirmishers were. The right of
Jackson's line was holding a wooded elevation, running off to the
left in rear of Chaplin River, while his left, north of Maxville
road, was thrown back in a northwesterly direction, forming an
obtuse angle, deflected about thirty degrees along broken heights
from their centre and right, the point of the angle being near where
the Maxville road crosses Doctor's Creek. The enemy considered
the key of McCook's position to be at this crossing, and directed
their main attack on that point. McCook had posted Starkweather's
brigade in the rear of the left as support to Jackson, with Stone's
and Bush's batteries of Rousseau's division, and had placed Webster's
brigade of Jackson's division in rear of Rousseau's line. The enemy
opened the attack on the extreme left of the Federal force posted
in the angle. This was a very strong position, by reason of the
character of the ground, which enabled these troops to sweep their
front with a heavy fire. The troops here were protected by being
posted behind stone fences, and were supported by batteries in the
rear. In the attack on the left Jackson was killed by the first
fire. Terrill's troops--nearly all new--were driven back, and
McCook's left turned. In falling back, Terrill endeavored to rally
his command near the batteries posted in his rear. While gallantly
doing so, he fell, mortally wounded, and died in a few hours.
McCook sent to Sheridan, asking him to protect his right, and sent
to Gilbert for reinforcements.

The advance of the enemy was checked by Starkweather's brigade, with
Stone's and Bush's batteries, all well posted to meet the assault
after Terrill's brigade had been driven back. The enemy made
repeated assaults with fresh troops at this point, but was driven
back each time with heavy loss until the troops and batteries were
out of ammunition, when they fell back to the original line, and
obtaining a supply renewed the fight.

On the right in Rousseau's front the enemy under Anderson made
a vigorous charge on Lytle's and Harris's brigades, attacking in
greatly superior numbers. They were however handsomely repulsed.
After fighting until their ammunition was exhausted, these troops
retired on the line with Starkweather's command. The rebels then
pushing forward under heavy fire from their batteries drove Lytle's
brigade from the new line. Sloan's battery getting into position
opened on the rebels with canister and checked their advance.
Colonel Gooding's brigade from Mitchell's division of Gilbert's
corps, with Penney's Fifth Wisconsin Battery, was ordered up, and
after a brisk engagement the enemy was driven back and the original
line of battle reoccupied. Steedman's brigade of Schoepff's division
also came up, and attacking the enemy aided in the final repulse.

When the heaviest attack was made on Rousseau the enemy assaulted
Sheridan's division in the advanced position which he occupied
after forcing back their line earlier in the day. He now withdrew
his troops, and posting them in a more favorable position on the
original line, opened on the rebels with heavy musketry fire and
canister. The enemy pressing him very hard at this point, he called
on Gilbert for support, who re-enforced him with Carlin's brigade
from Mitchell's division. As the enemy moved forward in strong
force to the attack, Carlin immediately ordered his troops to
charge, which they did, and drove the rebels before them through
Perryville, capturing in the town two caissons, fifteen wagons
loaded with ammunition, and a guard of 138 men under command of
three officers. Sheridan also drove the enemy for some distance,
but did not consider it prudent to advance too far, leaving McCook's
right exposed. He then directed his artillery fire on the enemy
at his left, and aided in checking the advance in that quarter.
Wagner's brigade of Wood's division became engaged, and did good
service on the right of Mitchell's division. The rest of Crittenden's
corps was not engaged in the action. Thomas, on arriving on the
battlefield with this corps, was directed to take position in the
line of battle on the right and wait for orders. Here he waited
during the entire day, and received none. Only part of Gilbert's
corps was engaged in the fight, the heavy blow striking McCook's,
which he failed to report to Buell until after two hours' fighting.
The battle was closed by night coming on, and a general engagement
was anticipated the next day. Thomas was directed to move Crittenden's
and Gilbert's corps forward in the morning at six o'clock, and
attack the enemy's front and left flank.

Buell ordered McCook during the night to close the opening between
his right and Gilbert's left. His orders for the following day
were to hold his position and take advantage of any opportunity
that the events of the day might present, the main attack to be
made by the other corps. On the following morning, the advance
being made in accordance with these orders, it was discovered that
the enemy's main body had retired during the night, and was falling
back on Harrodsburg, with indications that he would there make a
stand. Bragg left his dead and wounded on the field, but retired
leisurely and in good order.

Buell reported the strength of his command before the engagement at
58,000 effective men. Of these he claimed 22,000 were raw troops,
not drilled, and undisciplined. Less than one-half of this entire
force was in the action. His reports show a loss of 4,348, being
916 killed, 2,943 wounded, and 489 missing. Nearly all the losses
were from McCook's command, which bore the brunt of the heavy
fighting. Bragg referring to his loss in his official report says:
"In such a conflict our own loss was necessarily severe, probably
not less than 2,500 killed, wounded, and missing." During the
campaign General Buell captured nearly five thousand prisoners.

The enemy's troops engaged in the battle were under the immediate
command of General Polk. Bragg had been with Kirby Smith at Frankfort,
where these active operations found him engaged in superintending
"the ceremony of installing the Provisional Governor into office."

In his official report of the battle of Perryville, made from
Bryantsville, October 12, 1862, Bragg says: "After consulting with
the General (Polk) and reconnoitering the ground and examining his
dispositions, I declined to assume the command, but suggested some
changes and modifications of his arrangements, which he promptly
made." In a subsequent report of Perryville, made while he was at
Shelbyville, of date May 20, 1863, he reflects very severely upon
Polk's movements at Perryville. He says that he ordered the attack
to be made by Polk on Gilbert early in the morning of the 8th, that
he waited until 10 A.M., and hearing no firing started to see Polk
and have an explanation of the delay. Here he was "informed that
it was determined not to attack, but to assume the 'defensive
offensive.'" Bragg gave orders for some changes in the line of
battle, restoring certain portions of the command that had been
withdrawn, and again ordering Polk to bring on the engagement. The
execution of this order was delayed by Polk, and Bragg, becoming
"impatient at the delay after this order," "despatched a staff
officer to repeat it to the General, and soon thereafter followed
in person and put the troops in motion."

Bragg's intention was not to fight a general engagement at Perryville,
but merely to check the advance of Buell's army, thereby gaining
time to gather his supplies and men together and leave the State.
Bragg had been urged, by leading Kentuckians in his command and
others, to undertake the campaign in Kentucky with the promise of
immense numbers of recruits and large quantities of supplies. He
anticipated that his coming would be hailed as that of a deliverer,
and that the young men of the State would flock to his banners
and fill up his army, so that he could attack Buell at any point.
Bragg's entire command in Kentucky was estimated at thirty-five to
forty thousand. He anticipated enlisting twenty thousand recruits,
and took arms to Kentucky for that number of new troops. Buell's
command, with his losses and the garrison at Nashville was less
than this, but at Louisville he received some twenty-two thousand
new troops. The number of infantry recruits for Bragg's army was
very small, for he says in his first official report of the battle
of Perryville--when he at that time was preparing to leave the
State--"with ample means to arm twenty thousand men and a force
with that to fully redeem the State, we have not yet issued half
the arms left us by casualties incident to the campaign."

General Buell waited for Sill to join him with his division, leaving
Dumont at Frankfort. On the march Sill's advance was attacked by
a portion of Kirby Smith's command, which he repulsed and arrived
at Perryville on the 11th. Buell then moved forward, expecting Bragg
to give battle at Harrodsburg, and throwing out a strong force to
reconnoitre, discovered the enemy in force some three miles south
of that place. During the day Bragg continued his march south,
his rear guard being driven out of the place with the loss of
considerable stores and about twelve hundred prisoners, in the main
sick and wounded. On the next day Buell made a strong reconnoissance
to the crossing of Dick's River, and there ascertained that Bragg
had crossed his entire army.

Learning on the 13th that the enemy was retreating south, Buell
ordered pursuit to be made immediately, for the purpose of overtaking
Bragg, or of intercepting him if he should attempt to pass toward
Somerset. Wood's division marched at midnight, and engaged the enemy
at Stanford at daylight the next morning. The rest of Crittenden's
and McCook's corps followed on the same road; Gilbert marching on
the Lancaster road. The enemy was steadily pressed on the road to
Cumberland Gap, but could not be brought to an engagement. McCook's
and Gilbert's corps were halted at Crab Orchard, while Crittenden,
with W. S. Smith's division, was sent in pursuit as far as London
on the direct road to the Gap. It now appearing that Bragg did not
intend to fight in the State, and the country beyond Crab Orchard
being extremely barren and rough--no supplies existing in it--the
pursuit was discontinued, and the Army of the Ohio was turned toward
Bowling Green and Glasgow, preparatory to the advance to Nashville.
McCook's and Gilbert's corps were concentrated at the former place,
and Crittenden's at the latter. This movement of the troops was
made by Buell, who was confident that Bragg would concentrate in
the vicinity of Nashville, and seek to recover that place, and to
fight his great battle for the possession of Kentucky.

The military affairs of the nation at this time were unfortunately
in charge of General Halleck, who had been called to Washington as
Commander-in-Chief. On the retreat of Bragg from Kentucky, Halleck
insisted that Buell should make a campaign into East Tennessee, a
distance of two hundred and forty miles, over mountain and river,
without any communication to the rear, except by wagon train, over
almost impassable roads, the advance to be made in the face of the
enemy, who, operating on his line of communications could move his
entire command to defeat our advance in detail. Buell reported
to the War Department that it was impossible to make the campaign
as ordered, and knowing the necessity of protecting Nashville, he
directed the concentration of his troops on the line of the railroad
to that place. That road had been repaired up to Bowling Green,
after the destruction of two months before, and here the troops
received their needed supplies. On the 30th of October, Buell was
relieved of the command of the Department of the Ohio, and Major-General
William S. Rosecrans was, by the direction of the General-in-Chief,
assigned to the command of the troops. The designation of the
command being changed to that of the Department of the Cumberland.

It is a somewhat singular fact, that the campaign in Kentucky
should have caused the most intense feeling in the opposing armies
against their respective commanders. In the Federal army, after
Buell allowed Bragg to move north from Munfordville without an
engagement, the expressions of the troops against their commanding
general were open, bitter, and almost universal, from the lowest to
the highest. However, there was one who never for a moment lost
faith, soldierly trust, and esteem for his commander, and he was
of all persons in the command most competent to judge. This was
General Thomas. He knew the great difficulties of Buell's position,
how his place had been interfered with by Halleck, under whose
command it was his misfortune early in the year to be; and later,
how he was made to feel the power of this same man as a personal
matter. Halleck, invested by the Administration with supreme powers,
planned a campaign into East Tennessee, on paper in Washington, and
ordered Buell to execute it. This, the latter, with full knowledge
of the situation, refused to do, and quietly ordering his troops
to the line of the railroad from whence they could be moved with
the least delay, as needed, waited for the order he knew was pending
for his removal.

General Buell was right in refusing to attack Bragg at Munfordville,
or in fact at any time until he had placed his army north of the
enemy, and received his own reinforcements from Louisville. Then
this point was safe, and Nashville could not be imperiled by the
defeat of our army. Buell made three dispositions for an engagement
during the Kentucky campaign, but each time Bragg drew off except
at Perryville, and here there was no design of the latter to fight,
beyond checking Buell's advance, and gaining time for his troops
to make their retreat from the State with all stores and material.
Bragg, from his closing remarks in his first report of the battle
of Perryville, certainly did not consider--so far as the Confederacy
was concerned--that the State was worth fighting for. Had he
received the 20,000 new troops he was promised, instead of General
Buell having his army increased by that number, then he would have
struck quick and sharp. He left the State deeply disgusted with
Kentucky, and took every occasion after that to show it. The account
was even, however, as Bragg was not a favorite in that State.

At Perryville Buell labored under the same disadvantage in the
organization of his command that made itself felt on the first
two great battlefields of the Army of the Cumberland. That was
the inefficiency of his corps commanders. Of Gilbert it is only
necessary to say, that a worse appointment as a corps commander
was not made during the war. Fortunately, the battle of Perryville
was his first and only appearance in that position. Buell, after
expressing his thanks for McCook's services on that field and in
the campaign, in his official report says: "It is true that only
one serious battle has been fought, and that was incomplete, and less
decisive than it might have been. That this was so is due partly
to unavoidable difficulties which prevented the troops, marching
on different roads, from getting on the ground simultaneously, but
more to the fact that I was not apprised early enough of the condition
of affairs on my left. I can find no fault with the former, nor
am I disposed at this time to censure the latter, though it must be
admitted to have been a grave error. I ascribe it to the too great
confidence of the general commanding the left corps (Major-General
McCook), which made him believe that he could manage the difficulty
without the aid or control of his commander." Buell was not notified
of any attack by the enemy on his left until over two hours after
the engagement was begun. He then hurried to the field, and sent
the necessary supports forward, at once checking the enemy, and
made disposition of his troops for battle.

With a willingness to lay down command that characterized all
the commanders of the Army of the Cumberland when the authorities
in Washington regarded the good of the service as requiring it,
Buell placed the new commander in full possession of all plans and
information that he possessed, and without a word left the troops
that were to win undying fame on other battle-fields, largely by
reason of the training he had given them during the period of his
command, half a month less than one year.

The Comte de Paris, in his "History of the Civil War in America,"
in writing on the battle of Shiloh, where he refers to the massing
of the artillery by Grant's Chief of Staff, Colonel Webster, says:
"The fate of the day depends upon the preservation of these heights,
whence the enemy could have commanded Pittsburg Landing," and on
the following page adds, "Nevertheless, at the sight of the enemy's
battalions advancing in good order, the soldiers that have been
grouped together in haste, to give an air of support to Webster's
battery, became frightened and scattered. It is about to be carried,
when a new body of troops deploying in the rear of the guns, with
as much regularity as if they were on the parade-ground, receives
the Confederates with a fire that drives them back in disorder into
the ravine. This was the brigade of Ammen, belonging to Nelson's
division, that rushed forward so opportunely." In speaking of
the second day's fight he says: "At a signal given by Buell, his
three divisions, under Nelson, Crittenden, and McCook, put themselves
in motion at the same time. The soldiers of the Army of the Ohio,
constantly drilled for the year past by a rigid disciplinarian, and
trained by their long marches across three States, are distinguished
by their discipline and fine bearing. The readiness with which
they march against the enemy wins the admiration of the generals,
who, like Sherman, have had to fight a whole day at the head of
raw and inexperienced troops."

The greatest service that General Buell rendered to his country
was as the organizer and disciplinarian of the mass of the raw,
undrilled troops that were hurried to the front under the need of
the hour, and who, unaccustomed to military or other restraint, had
all the freedom that characterizes the American sovereign both in
speech and action. To take these troops by the thousands and make
an army of fifty to seventy-five thousand trained skilled soldiers,
who, in later days, were to do as splendid fighting as the world
ever saw, was a stupendous undertaking. General Buell not only
did this, but accomplished the task in time to bring some of these
soldiers that he was justly proud of to the field of Shiloh, where,
under his eye, they met the enemy like veterans. Buell's military
training and habits of life led him, however, to one error. He
was so good a soldier himself, that he failed to recognize the
distinction between the regular soldier in garrison during times
of peace and the thinking volunteer during the active campaigns
of the rebellion. The latter could not and would not be made the
mere machine the former becomes, and Buell's failure to appreciate
this caused great ill-feeling against him at the time in his army.
Then, again, Buell's earlier military training in the bureau
office he held so many years unfitted him for the handling, on
the battle-field, of the large number of troops which composed his
command. But very few generals during the rebellion were able to
successfully handle on the battle-field as large an army as was
under Buell. In fact, the general who has sufficient talent as a
good organizer and drill-master to enter into the details necessary
to bring an army out of raw troops, has not the military genius
required to handle a large army in fighting and winning great
battles. But Buell rendered many valuable services, in the camp
and on the field, to his country. It was Buell who planned the
Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, and Nashville campaign, which Halleck
put under his hat, and proceeded to carry out as HIS original idea,
being careful to say nothing in regard to his plans until they
were so far executed as to render any action on the part of Buell
and his command simply that of a supporting column. Then to Buell
is due the credit of the second day's fight at Shiloh. That day's
battle was the fight of the Army of the Ohio with Lewis Wallace's
division, General Grant giving Buell largely his discretion in
the movements of the troops. Whitelaw Reid says of him, in "Ohio
in the War," "He came into that action when, without him, all was
lost. He redeemed the fortunes of the field, and justly won the
title of the 'Hero of Pittsburg Landing.'"

The order placing Rosecrans in command--General Order No. 168, War
Department, of date October 24, 1862--created the Department of
the Cumberland, embracing that portion of the State of Tennessee
lying east of the Tennessee River, and such portion of Georgia and
Alabama as should be occupied by the Federal troops. The troops
in the field were designated in the same order as the "Fourteenth
Army Corps."

General Rosecrans assumed command on October 30th at Louisville.
On November 2d he arrived at Bowling Green, and on the 7th he
announced, in General Orders, the division of his army organization
into "the Right Wing," "the Centre," and "the Left Wing," under the
command respectively of McCook, Thomas, and Crittenden, with five
divisions in the centre and three in each wing. He instructed
Thomas to advance Fry and Dumont's divisions to Gallatin, and to
push rapidly forward the repairs of the railroad to Nashville.

Up to this time the movements of Bragg's army remained undeveloped,
and no disposition of the Federal forces could be safely made
without the knowledge of what Bragg's plan of operation would be.
That he would ultimately attempt the capture of Nashville or force
a battle for it there could be but little doubt. Not to fight for
Nashville was the abandonment of Tennessee. Kentucky surrendered
without a blow produced such demoralization in Bragg's command that
to have given up Tennessee without a struggle would have either
compelled a change in the commanding officer of that army or a
disbandment of it, so far as the Kentucky and Tennessee troops were

General Halleck's brilliant paper campaign into East Tennessee again
was produced and aired with a show of the most profound wisdom,
based on the extreme ignorance of the situation and surroundings.
Buell's forethought in concentrating the army within supporting
distance of Nashville became apparent on the appearance of the
advance of Bragg's army at Murfreesboro, reinforcing Breckinridge's
command, which had been left in Tennessee to enforce the "blockade
of Nashville." This was another grievance the Kentucky troops had
against Bragg. All the Kentucky infantry troops under Bragg were
in Breckenridge's command, and they were exceedingly anxious to
return to the State with Bragg's army to visit their friends and
relatives and aid in recruiting that army. Bragg's distrust of
these troops was such that he refused to allow them this privilege,
and his action in holding them in Tennessee, just out of Kentucky,
did not materially increase his popularity with them. Breckinridge
had established his headquarters at Murfreesboro and assumed chief
command, with about ten thousand troops under him, over one-third
of which were cavalry under Wheeler and Forrest. With this force
Breckinridge endeavored to enforce the siege of Nashville, using
his cavalry to prevent the gathering of forage and supplies by our
troops from the surrounding country. These foraging parties were
constantly sent out, going as far at times as ten miles on these
expeditions. The main deprivation the garrison suffered during
the six weeks of the siege was in having nearly all communication
cut off from their friends in the North, and while they received
nothing, they embraced every opportunity of sending letters by
citizens returning north. The garrison was not willing to remain
entirely on the defensive. Besides the numerous raiding parties
sent out for forage which were uniformly successful, on the night
of the 6th of October, Negley sent Palmer with some twenty-eight
hundred troops to attack General S. R. Anderson, who had established
his camp at Lavergne with some three thousand men, principally new
recruits. Palmer with the artillery and about four hundred infantry
to support it, moved directly on Lavergne, some fifteen miles from
Nashville, while Colonel John F. Miller with about twenty-four
hundred men in his command moved on the road to the right to make
the attack on the rear of the enemy. Miller marched his command
during the night, captured the enemy's pickets at daylight and
moved on the encampment. Palmer opened with artillery as soon as he
heard Miller's musketry firing and the latter, pushing his troops
rapidly forward, after an engagement lasting half an hour, had the
enemy in full retreat on the road to Murfreesboro with a loss of
80 killed and wounded and 175 prisoners. He also captured three
pieces of artillery, and the regimental colors of the Thirty-second
Alabama. Palmer's command then returned to Nashville.

During the siege of Nashville skirmishing between our pickets and
the scouting parties of the enemy was constantly occurring, and the
garrison of Nashville was indebted for its safety to the services
of Lieutenant-Colonel Von Schrader of the Seventy-fourth Ohio,
Inspector of Negley's division, as much as any one thing. Von
Schrader was an educated Prussian officer and a thorough soldier.
He established a system of pickets, strongly posted, with block
houses for their protection, and then gave his personal attention
to it that the pickets performed their entire duty. There was no
determined assault on the place at any time during the siege. The
only appearance of an attack in force was on the 6th of November,
by a body of some eight thousand troops, equally divided between
cavalry and infantry, under General Roger Hanson. Forrest,
knowing that the Federal force at Nashville was not a very strong
one and that by the pursuit of Bragg by Buell's army, Nashville was
completely cut off from any immediate support or relief, obtained
General Breckinridge's permission to make an attack with his cavalry,
numbering over four thousand men, in concert with the infantry
under Hanson, numbering a little less than Forrest's command. The
enemy's cavalry moved in columns on the Charlotte, Franklin, and
Nolinsville turnpikes from the south, while Forrest in person with
1,000 cavalry and Hanson's infantry, pushed rapidly forward on the
Murfreesboro pike, arriving at the Lunatic Asylum, six miles from
Nashville, by daylight. Our pickets and cavalry were driven in,
and Hanson was in readiness to make the attack with the infantry
when a peremptory order from Breckinridge was received, directing
further operations to cease, under express orders from Bragg.
After skirmishing with his cavalry around the city at the different
outposts, Forrest withdrew, greatly incensed at being ordered to
desist from the attack when confident of success.

Bragg in leaving a large number of men in middle Tennessee merely
to watch the post of Nashville--thus crippling his army to that
extent--committed a great mistake. He needed every available man
in his army to make the Kentucky campaign a success. With these
10,000 troops, if Buell had left Negley's and Paine's divisions
as garrisons at Nashville, Bragg's force would have outnumbered
Buell's command before he reached Louisville three to two. With
the defeat of Buell, Nashville would have been worse than worthless,
proving an incumbrance instead of a benefit. On the other hand,
with Bragg driven out of Kentucky, and opening the struggle for
that State in Tennessee, the possession of Nashville as a second
base of supplies for our army was an absolute necessity. Bragg,
however, was correct in refusing to allow the place to be attacked
by Forrest, for even in the event of success the non-combatants
and sympathizing friends of the South would have suffered in person
and property to an extent far beyond what the temporary occupation
of the city by the Southern forces would have compensated.

Nashville was re-enforced by the arrival of the advance of the army
concentrating there on the 17th of November, and a few days after
Rosecrans arrived and established his headquarters in that city.
The first thing that demanded the attention of the new commander
was that which had given the most serious trouble to General Buell,
viz.: the safety of his communications in the rear to his base
of supplies. The repair to the tunnel just south of Mitchelville
occupied a large force several weeks to complete. During this time
all supplies for troops at Nashville were with the greatest labor
hauled fifty-five miles by wagon train. The railroad from Louisville
to Nashville was re-opened on the 26th of November, and for one
month every effort was made to forward supplies, so the troops could
have new clothing issued to them, and that they could be provided
with ammunition. The depôts at Nashville were filled with needful
supplies to provide against the interruption of communication arising
from raids on the railroad by rebel cavalry. Since the middle of
November Bragg had been concentrating his forces at Murfreesboro,
and anticipating that the Federal forces would go into winter
quarters at Nashville, had placed his troops in quarters for the
winter in the vicinity of the former place. He had sent nearly all
of his cavalry to raid on the lines of the Federal communication--Morgan
into Kentucky and Wheeler into West Tennessee. With this knowledge,
Rosecrans, on the 26th of December, ordered his army to move out
of Nashville to attack the enemy on his front.

While the army was being refitted at Nashville, Morgan's cavalry
was raiding the surrounding country. On the 7th Morgan's command
captured the Ninety-ninth Brigade under Colonel A. B. Moore, at
Hartsville, where he had been posted by Thomas to guard the ford of
the Cumberland River, and to watch the enemy on the Lebanon road.
The brigade consisted of three infantry regiments, a battalion of
cavalry, and a section of artillery, making a force of about two
thousand effective men. The command was badly posted, and the
commanding officers of the infantry regiments failed to cooperate,
or to obey orders. It was, in the main, a repetition of the
disgraceful affair at Murfreesboro, when Forrest captured that
place during the previous summer. Moore was surprised in his camp
early in the morning. No warning was given by the pickets, and
before any disposition could be made of the troops, Morgan's men
were upon them. Morgan's command consisted of his cavalry, and two
regiments of infantry. Moore threw out a skirmish line to resist
the advance of Morgan's infantry and dismounted cavalry in line.
The rebels pressed steadily forward to a ravine at the foot of the
hill on which Moore had formed his line, and under shelter of this
poured such a destructive fire upon the Federal troops, that he
ordered a new line to be formed in the rear. In this movement the
whole line was thrown into confusion, and being attacked on their
right and rear by the rebel cavalry, who had, up to this time not
been engaged, Moore's command was crowded one on the other into a
narrow space where the fire of the enemy proved terribly effective.
Moore's troops being unable to return the fire, and he not being
able to make another disposition of them, the white flag was raised,
and the entire command surrendered. Colonel Tafel, in command of
the One Hundred and Sixth Ohio, becoming separated from the other
troops, made some further resistance, but, being overpowered, he
also surrendered. The contest only lasted a little over an hour.
Moore's loss was 150 killed and wounded, his entire command
captured, with all army and camp equipment, trains, and two pieces
of artillery. Morgan's loss was 125 killed and wounded.

General D. S. Stanley, on reporting to Rosecrans from the Army of
the Tennessee, had been assigned to the position of Chief of Cavalry
to the Commanding General. On the 12th he attacked and drove the
enemy out of the town of Franklin, killing five and capturing twelve
men, with a large number of horses and stores. He destroyed the
mills at that place, with a great quantity of valuable property.

After the capture of Hartsville by Morgan, his services were
recognized by his superiors to the extent that Mr. Davis, who was
on a visit to Murfreesboro shortly after this engagement, signed
and handed him his commission as Brigadier-General. General Hardee
urged that the appointment be made as Major-General, but this was
refused. Morgan's command had increased so that it was unwieldy
as one body, and he decided to form it into two brigades. His
command consisted now of seven regiments,--an aggregate force of
over four thousand men. This he divided, placing three regiments
under Colonel Basil W. Duke, in the first brigade, with a battery
of four guns. The second brigade was placed in command of Colonel
W. C. P. Breckenridge, and was composed of four regiments, with one
three-inch Parrot gun and the two mountain howitzers. This force,
trained as it had been, had no superior for the work it was ordered
to do--raiding in the rear, destroying bridges, trestleworks, and
capturing bridge-guards. So accustomed had they become to hardships
of every nature, that it was almost incredible the amount of rough
riding, scant fare, and loss of sleep these men endured. Proud of
their past success, and emboldened by it to the belief that they
were able to defeat any force that could overtake them, they at
last found the country south of the Ohio too confined for them,
and, aiming at grander feats, they passed north of that river,
and, entering upon an entirely different kind of warfare, met with
complete disaster.

On the morning of the 22d the command of Morgan took the road again
for Kentucky. Bragg ordered the railroad in Rosecrans's rear to be
broken, and his communication with Louisville destroyed. Morgan and
his men were in most excellent spirits at the prospect of another
raid into that State. He had with him the pick of the youth of the
State of Kentucky. On the 24th Morgan's command had their first
skirmish with a battalion of Michigan troops, which resulted in
the loss to Morgan of seventeen of his men and two of his officers.
On the 25th Colonel Hobson had an engagement with Johnson's regiment
near Munfordville, in which the rebels suffered a loss of some
fifty men killed and wounded. Morgan then attacked the stockade at
Bacon Creek, held by a force of 100 men, who made a most stubborn
and determined resistance, inflicting severe loss upon the attacking
party, and demonstrating the worth of a stockade properly built and
efficiently manned. These stockades were built with heavy upright
timber ten or twelve feet high. They were surrounded by ditches
and pierced for musketry. Assailants, when right at the base,
were still far from taking them. It was supposed that they would
not resist artillery, and, in fact, they were not built with the
expectation of doing so. If the garrison of the stockade succeeded
in driving off the guerilla parties that swarmed through the country,
it fully accomplished its purpose. This stockade successfully
resisted the heavy artillery firing brought to bear upon it, even
when a number of shells exploded within the work. After making
such a brave defiance, it is to be regretted that they did not hold
out to the last, and refuse to surrender at all. The commanding
officer had rejected a number of demands made on him to surrender;
when Morgan came up in person, and in his own name offering them
liberal terms, they surrendered. Morgan then burnt the bridge
across Bacon Creek, and pressed on to Nolin, fourteen miles beyond,
where the stockade was surrendered without a fight. The bridge here
also was destroyed. Morgan's division, on the 27th, captured
Elizabethtown, after a severe engagement with the command
of Lieutenant-Colonel Smith--a detachment of some six hundred
infantry. Smith sent Morgan a demand for him to surrender, which
Morgan declined, and returned the compliment by making the same
demand on Smith, who also declined. After an engagement lasting
some six hours, Morgan's artillery rendered the building Smith's
command was fighting in untenable, and he then surrendered. The
next day Morgan, moving along the railroad, destroyed it thoroughly.
The principal object of the expedition was the great trestleworks
at Muldraugh's Hills, only a short distance apart. The garrison
defending the lower trestle, 600 strong, was captured by the Second
Brigade. The First Brigade captured the garrison at the upper
trestle--200 strong. These trestles were respectively 80 and 90
feet high, and each of them 500 feet long. They were thoroughly
destroyed. Thus was accomplished the objects of the raid, but
the destruction of these bridges--trestle and railroad--did not
accomplish the design contemplated by Bragg. Rosecrans's prompt
movement from Nashville on the rebels encamped at Murfreesboro,
and the result of that campaign, rendered Morgan's raid a failure
in the main, as Bragg intended the road should be so thoroughly
destroyed as to prevent the further occupation of Nashville by our
army. The loss to the Federals was an exceedingly severe one, and
had Rosecrans remained at Nashville inactive all the winter of 1862,
Bragg's designs would have met with a greater degree of success.

On the 29th, Colonel Harlan with his brigade attacked and routed
Morgan's troopers at Rolling Fork of Salt River, and drove them to
Bardstown. While Morgan was moving around Lebanon, Colonel Hoskins's
command attacked him and captured 150 men. Morgan passed between
the forces sent against him, showing again that it is impossible
to catch cavalry with infantry. Morgan then commenced his retreat
form the State. On the morning of January 1, 1863, as his command
was passing Columbia, 115 miles in an air-line from Murfreesboro,
his men reported hearing distinctly the roar of heavy cannonading
in that direction. On the 2d Morgan crossed the Cumberland, and
felt safe once more from all pursuit.

On December 21st, General Carter moved with three regiments of
cavalry toward East Tennessee, from Lebanon, Ky., to raid on the
rebel line of communication. Crossing the Cumberland Mountains forty
miles northeast of Cumberland Gap, he passed through Southwestern
Virginia and Tennessee to Carter's Station, destroying the Holston
and Watauga bridges and several miles of railroad. He then leisurely
returned to Kentucky by the same route he had advanced.

Chapter VII.

The Advance to Murfreesboro.

On December 22d, General Thomas moved his headquarters from Gallatin
to Nashville, and there concentrated the divisions of Rousseau
and Negley, and Walker's brigade of Fry's division. Of the five
divisions composing the Centre, that of J. J. Reynolds was guarding
the Louisville and Nashville railroad; and on the same duty were
the remaining two brigades of Fry's division. R. B. Mitchell
was assigned to the command of Nashville with his division as the
garrison. This left, under the immediate command of Thomas, the
two divisions and the brigade as above, as his only available force.
McCook with three divisions under Johnson, Davis, and Sheridan,
and Crittenden, also with three divisions under Wood, Palmer, and
Van Cleve, were in camp in front of Nashville, on the Franklin,
Nolinsville, and Murfreesboro turnpikes.

The position of the enemy under Bragg was fully known to Rosecrans.
Two corps under Polk and Kirby Smith were at Murfreesboro with
strong outposts at Stewart's Creek and Lavergne. The corps under
Hardee was on the Shelbyville and Nolinsville pike, between Triune
and Eaglesville, with an advance guard at Nolinsville. Rosecrans,
on the morning of the 26th, directed the advance movement to commence
in the following order. McCook was to move his command of three
divisions direct on the Nolinsville pike to Triune. Thomas was
to advance his command of two divisions and a brigade on McCook's
right by the Franklin and Wilson pikes, threatening Hardee's left,
and on his falling back was then to cross over on country roads
and occupy Nolinsville. Crittenden was ordered to move his command
direct on the Murfreesboro pike. On the arrival of Thomas at
Nolinsville, and being in a position to support, McCook was to attack
Hardee at Triune, and if the latter was re-enforced and McCook's
advance resisted, Thomas was to go to his aid. If Hardee fell back
to Stewart's Creek, five miles south of Lavergne, and the enemy
made a stand there, then Crittenden was to attack him at once, and
Thomas was to come in on his left flank, while McCook was to bring
his forces in supporting distance of Thomas and Crittenden as
needed, after sending a division to watch Hardee and to pursue him
if retreating.

Davis took the advance of the Right Wing with the First Division.
He moved from camp at 6 A.M. on the Edmondson pike, on which he was
ordered to move to Prim's blacksmith shop, from whence he was to
march direct on a country road to Nolinsville. The Third Division
under Sheridan moved on the Nolinsville pike, followed by the Second
under Johnson. The advance of both these columns encountered the
cavalry pickets of the enemy, within two miles of the Federal picket
line. As these commands advanced, there was constant skirmishing
until the heads of each of these columns reached Nolinsville.
About one mile south of the town the enemy made a determined stand
in a defile, and upon the hills through which the pike ran at this
place, known as Knobb's Gap. This was a favorable position for
the rebels, well guarded by their artillery, which opened fire at
long range upon Carlin's lines. Davis then brought up two batteries
and opened fire upon the enemy, while Carlin charged their position,
capturing two guns and several prisoners. Davis's other brigades
carried the enemy's position on the right and left. His divisions
then bivouacked for the night. McCook's loss that day was about
seventy-five killed and wounded.

Early on the morning of the 27th, McCook's command pressing
forward, encountered the enemy in force. A dense fog prevailed at
the time, rendering it hazardous in the extreme to open an engagement
at that time, as McCook's troops could not distinguish friend from
foe at one hundred and fifty yards, and his cavalry had been fired
on by his infantry. On learning that Hardee was in position and
had been in line of battle since the night before, McCook ordered
a halt until the fog lifted. This it did about noon, when Johnson's
division was pushed rapidly forward, followed by that of Sheridan.
As the command approached Triune they found the enemy had burned
the bridge across Wilson's Creek and retired, leaving a battery
of six pieces with cavalry supports to hold the crossing. As the
skirmishers of Johnson's command advanced, the battery withdrew,
and with the cavalry moved off rapidly on the Eaglesville road.
Johnson's division then repaired the bridge, crossed and went into
camp beyond Wilson's Creek.

On Sunday the 28th, there was no general movement of the troops.
McCook, however, sent Willich's brigade out on reconoissance, to
learn whether the enemy had retired to Murfreesboro or Shelbyville.
Willich went several miles on the Shelbyville road and found that
the force in his front had turned to the left and moved toward that
former place. Stanley with the cavalry also made a reconoissance,
and reported that Hardee had retreated to Murfreesboro.

On the 29th, McCook, leaving Baldwin's brigade at Triune to cover
the extreme right, moved forward with the remainder of his command
on a country road known as the Bole Jack road toward Murfreesboro.
The command did not reach their encampment until late in the
evening, when from the movements of the enemy it was concluded that
he intended to give battle at Murfreesboro, and every disposition
of troops was made with reference to this. That night McCook's
command was encamped in line of battle with two brigades of Johnson's
division watching the right, Woodruff's brigade guarding the bridge
at Overall's Creek, Davis on the right of the Wilkinson pike, with
Sheridan on the left of that road. The brigade that McCook had left
at Triune was ordered up and assumed its position with the troops
on the 30th. McCook's entire command on the morning of that day
advanced down the Wilkinson turnpike until the head of the column
encountered the enemy's pickets. The line of battle was at once
formed with the division deployed in a line running to the right in
a southeast direction with the left of Sheridan upon the Wilkinson
pike immediately on Negley's right. Davis's division was at once
thrown into line of battle with his left resting on Sheridan's
right, and Johnson's held in reserve. Covering the front with a
strong line of skirmishers, McCook moved his men slowly forward,
the enemy stubbornly contesting every foot of ground. McCook's
skirmishers soon became sharply engaged with those of the rebels.
The ground was very favorable to the enemy, they being under cover
of heavy woods and cedar thickets. At 12 o'clock part of the
enemy's line of battle was determined, McCook's skirmishers being
then about five hundred yards from it. The resistance to Davis's
advance was especially stubborn, and the losses of the day footed
up seventy-five in Sheridan's division and some two hundred
in Davis's. Shortly before sunset the rebel position was plainly
discernible from Davis's front, and was formed diagonally across
the old Murfreesboro and Franklin road. In the afternoon, McCook
learned from a citizen who had seen the enemy's line of battle and
the position of his troops, that they were posted with the right
of Cheatham's division resting on the Wilkinson pike; Wither's
division on Cheatham's left, with his left resting on the Franklin
road; the entire of Hardee's corps to the left of that road extending
toward Salem pike. This formation of the enemy's line placed the
right of McCook's line as then formed directly in front of the
enemy's centre. Information was at once sent to Rosecrans, and
McCook informed his three division commanders of this fact and
then placed two brigades of the reserve division under Willich and
Kirk--two of the best and most experienced brigade commanders in
the army--on the right of Davis, to protect the right flank and
guard against surprise--that of Kirk with his left resting on Davis's
right, with his right refused, Willich on Kirk's right and in a
line nearly perpendicular to the main line, thus covering the right
flank. The third brigade of Johnson's division was held as reserve.
McCook's line of battle as thus formed was broken in several
points. The general direction of Sheridan's line was to the east
and south, facing nearly at right angles with Negley, that of Davis
was to the west, facing south, nearly at right angles to Sheridan,
Kirk's brigade to Davis's right faced more to the east, while
Willich's faced due south. The general direction of McCook's line,
however, conformed to the line of the enemy in its front, except
the latter had no breaks in the line and that its left division
under McCown had its left extended due south. The main portion
of the enemy's battle-line faced northwest. Breckinridge on the
right of the line was facing nearly north while McCown on the left
faced due west. The enemy awaiting attack--acting on the defensive--had
as far as practicable located its line in the cedars, with open
ground in the front. McCook considered his line a strong one,
with "open ground in the front for a short distance." Rosecrans,
on being informed by McCook of the location of his line of battle,
expressed himself against it, saying: "I don't like the facing
so much to the east, but must confide that to you, who know the
ground. If you don't think you present the best position, change
it." At six o'clock in the evening McCook received an order from
Rosecrans to have large and extended camp-fires made on the right,
extending far beyond the right of the line, to deceive the enemy
and make him believe that troops were being massed there. Fires
were built extending nearly a mile beyond the right of McCook's
line. In this position the right wing rested in the cedars the
night before the battle. The troops, cutting cedar boughs for
beds, and officers and men, wrapping themselves in their blankets,
slept in the frosty night air with the silent stars looking down.

On the 26th, Thomas's command, "the Centre," with Negley's division
in the advance, moved out promptly to Brentwood on the Franklin
pike, and from there turned to the left and advanced on the Wilson
pike to Owen's store, where the troops were to encamp for the night.
But on arriving there, Negley left his train and pushed on at once
with his troops to Nolinsville, from whence the sound of Davis's guns
had reached him, to his support. Negley encamped at Nolinsville,
Rousseau at Owen's store, and Walker's brigade at Brentwood. A very
heavy rain during the night rendered the country roads impassable,
and it was not until the night of the 27th that Rousseau's command
reached Nolinsville. On the morning of the 27th, Negley's train
coming up, his division moved to the east, over an extremely rough
by-road, to the right of Crittenden on the Murfreesboro pike,
taking position at Stewartsboro. Walker was sent back by Thomas
from Brentwood, to take the direct Nolinsville pike. On the 28th,
Rousseau, under order, marched to Stewartsboro, where he joined
Negley's division. On the 29th Negley crossed Stewart's Creek at
the ford southwest of, and two miles above the turnpike bridge, and
marched in supporting distance of the head of Crittenden's command
on the Murfreesboro pike. Rousseau was ordered to remain in camp
at Stewartsboro, detaching Starkweather's brigades with a section
of artillery to the Jefferson pike, to watch the movements of the
enemy. Negley's division moved eight miles that day and took position
within three miles of Murfreesboro. Walker reached Stewartsboro
from the Nolinsville pike about dark. Early in the morning,
Crittenden's command moved into line of battle on the left, under
a brisk fire, while Negley's division, by an oblique movement to
the right, took position on the right of Palmer's division, and
was then advanced through a dense cedar thicket several hundred
yards in width to the Wilkinson cross roads, driving the enemy's
skirmishers steadily, and with considerable loss. Rousseau's
division, with the exception of Starkweather's brigade, was ordered
up from Stewartsboro, reached the front, and bivouacked on the
Murfreesboro pike in the rear of the centre. Thomas during the
night ordered Walker's brigade to take a strong position near the
bridge over Stewart's Creek, and to defend it against any attempt
of the enemy's cavalry to destroy it. Rousseau was ordered to
take position in rear of Negley's division, with his left on the
Murfreesboro pike, and his right extending into the cedar thicket
through which Negley had marched to take position. The troops held
every foot of ground that had been won from the enemy and remained
in line of battle during the night.

The "Left Wing" under Crittenden advanced on the 26th to Lavergne,
Palmer's division in the front. He was engaged in a short time
with heavy skirmishing, which increased as the command moved south.
The advance of the column was over a rough country, intersected
with forests and cedar thickets. Crittenden was ordered to delay
his movements until McCook reached Triune, in order to determine
the direction in which Thomas should move as support; Crittenden's
command encamped that night four miles north of Lavergne. On the
27th Wood's division was placed in the advance of Crittenden's
column. Hascall's brigade drove the enemy from Lavergne with
a loss of twenty men wounded, and pushing rapidly on, forced them
south of Stewart's Creek, five miles beyond. At this place the
enemy set fire to the bridge, which Hascall's advance reached in
time to save. Hazen's brigade of Palmer's division was sent down
the Jefferson pike to seize the bridge over Stewart's Creek at the
crossing of that road. That night the "Left Wing" went into camp
at Stewartsboro, and remained there over the next day, Sunday.
On the 29th, Crittenden's command crossed Stewart's Creek by the
Smyrna bridge, and the main Murfreesboro pike, and advanced that
day--Palmer's division leading--to within two miles of Murfreesboro,
driving back the enemy after several severe skirmishes, saving two
bridges on the route, and forcing the enemy into his intrenchments.

Rosecrans, about three o'clock in the afternoon, received a
signal message from Palmer at the front, that he was in sight of
Murfreesboro, and that the enemy was running. Rosecrans then sent
an order to Crittenden to send a division to occupy Murfreesboro,
camping the other two outside. Crittenden received this order
as he reached the head of his command, where Wood and Palmer were
gathering up their troops prepatory to encamping for the night.
These divisions were in line of battle,--Wood on the left and Palmer
on the right,--with the rebels in sight in such heavy force that
it was evident that they intended to dispute the passage of the
river, and to fight a battle at or near Murfreesboro. On receipt
of the order, Crittenden gave the command to advance. Wood was
ordered to occupy the place, and Palmer to advance in line of battle
until the passage of the river had been forced. Wood on receiving
the order objected greatly to carrying it out, saying that it was
hazarding a great deal for very little, to move over unknown ground
in the night, instead of waiting for daylight, and that Crittenden
ought to take the responsibility of disobeying the order. This
the latter refused to do. After Wood and Palmer had issued their
orders to advance, they both insisted that the order should not
be carried out. The order was then suspended an hour, so that
Rosecrans could be heard from. During this interval the general
himself came to this portion of the front, and approved of the
action of Crittenden, as the order had been issued on the report
that the enemy had evacuated Murfreesboro. Under the order, before
it was suspended, Harker with his brigade had crossed the river at
a ford on his left, where he surprised a regiment of Breckinridge's
division, and drove it back on its main lines, not more than five
hundred yards distant, in considerable confusion. He held this
position until it was dark, with Breckinridge in force on his
front, when Crittenden ordered his return. Hascall's command was
fording the river, advancing when the order was suspended. Harker
succeeded in recrossing the river in the face of this strong force
of the enemy without any serious loss. Crittenden placed Van Cleve's
division, which had reported marching from the Jefferson turnpike
to the Murfreesboro road, in reserve behind Wood. During the 30th
there was but little change in the position of the Left Wing, while
the other troops were moving into position on the line of battle.
Palmer's division was advanced a short distance, the enemy contesting

The pioneer brigade had prepared the banks at three places for the
fording of the river. Wood's division covered two, and the pioneer
brigade, under Captain St. Clair Morton, covered the lower one.
At night Crittenden's corps with Negley's division bivouacked
in order of battle, being on seven hundred yards from the enemy's
entrenchments. The left of Crittenden's command extended down the
river some five hundred yards.

The first movement of Rosecrans's advance was made known to Bragg
as soon as it had reached a point two miles beyond the Federal
picket-line, where the heads of the several columns encountered
the rebel cavalry pickets. For all Bragg had placed his army in
winter quarters, and presumed that Rosecrans had done the same,
his experience with the matter of surprise to an army led him to be
well prepared to know and take advantage of the slightest change
in his immediate front. By the night of the 26th Bragg knew
that Rosecrans's entire army was moving out to force him to fight
or compel his retreat. He at once selected his line of battle
at Stone's River, and directed his three cavalry brigades, under
Wheeler, Wharton, and Pegram, supported by three brigades of infantry
with artillery, to check the advance of the several columns until
he could unite this army. He then gave the necessary orders for
the concentration of his command and the formation of his line of

Murfreesboro is situated on the railroad to Chattanooga, thirty miles
southeast of Nashville, in the midst of the great plain stretching
from the base of the Cumberland Mountains toward the Cumberland
River, and is surrounded by a gently undulating country, exceedingly
fertile and highly cultivated. Leading in every direction from
the town are numerous excellent turnpikes. Stone's River--named
after an early settler--is formed here by the middle and south
branches of the stream uniting, and flows in a northerly direction
between low banks of limestone, generally steep and difficult to
cross, emptying into the Cumberland. At the time of the battle the
stream was so low that it could be crossed by infantry everywhere.
The Nashville Railroad crosses the river about two hundred yards
above the turnpike bridge. At some five hundred yards beyond, it
intersects the Nashville turnpike at a sharp angle, then runs some
eight hundred yards between the pike and the river, when the stream
turns abruptly to the east and passes to the north. Open fields
surrounded the town, fringed with dense cedar-brakes. These
afforded excellent cover for approaching infantry, but were almost
impervious to artillery.

The centre of Bragg's army was at Murfreesboro, under Polk. The
right was at Readyville, under McCown, and the left at Triune and
Eaglesville, under Hardee. Polk's command consisted of Cheatham's
and Wither's divisions. These divisions and three brigades of
Breckenridge's division of Hardee's corps were at Murfreesboro.
Cleburne's division and Adams's brigade of Breckinridge's division
were under the immediate command of Hardee, near Eaglesville, about
twenty miles west of Murfreesboro. McCown's division of Kirby
Smith's corps was at Readyville, twelve miles east of Murfreesboro.
Each of the two divisions of Hardee's corps consisted of four
brigades of infantry. To this corps Wheeler's brigade of cavalry
was attached. The brigade of T. R. Jackson--which was in the rear,
guarding the railroad from Bridgeport to the mountains--Bragg also
ordered up. On Sunday, the 28th, Bragg formed his line of battle,
placing Breckinridge's division on his extreme right, across Stone's
River, to protect that flank and cover the town. Adams's brigade
rested on the Lebanon road, about a mile and a half from town.
Breckinridge's division formed the first line, facing north, and
was posted in the edge of the forest, with Cleburne's division in
the second line, 800 yards to the rear. To the left of Adams the
line was broken by an intervening field, about three hundred yards
in width, which was apparently left unoccupied, but was covered by
the Twentieth Tennessee and Wright's battery, of Preston's brigade,
which swept it and the fields in front. The remainder of Preston's
brigade rested with its right in the woods, and extended along
the edge with its left toward the river. On the left of Preston,
Palmer's brigade was formed, and on his left Hanson's completed that
portion of the line. Jackson's brigade reported to Breckinridge
and was placed on the east side of the Lebanon road, on commanding
ground, a little in the advance of the right of Adams. On the
other side of the river the right of Withers's division rested at
the bank, near the intersection of the turnpike with the railroad,
and was slightly in advance of Hanson's right. It extended
southwardly across the Wilkinson pike to the Triune or Franklin
road, in an irregular line adapted to the topography of the country.
In the rear of Withers's division that of Cheatham was posted as
a supporting force. McCown's division was placed in the rear of
these divisions as the reserve. This was Bragg's first disposition
of his troops for battle. On Monday, the 29th, no change of
importance was made, the troops remaining in line of battle. In
the evening, when Harker's brigade crossed the river, Bragg thought
this was a movement to occupy a hill situated about six hundred
yards in front of Hanson's centre. This commanded the ground sloping
to the river south and west, and from it the right of Withers's
division across the river could be enfiladed. Hanson's brigade
was sent out, and, on Harker's return, the hill was occupied by the
batteries of the enemy. On Monday Bragg, finding that Rosecrans
was extending his line on his right,--as Bragg supposed to operate
on that flank--threw his reserve division under McCown on Withers's
left. Hardee was ordered to take command of McCown's division, and
to move Cleburne from the second line in the rear of Breckinridge,
and place him on the left as support to McCown. Cleburne was brought
forward and placed five hundred yards in rear of the latter. Bragg's
main line of battle was in the edge of the woods, with open ground
to the front. His troops were formed in two lines, the first line
protected by intrenchments, and his second line formed some six
hundred yards to the rear. He awaited the attack of Rosecrans on
the 30th, and not receiving it, on Tuesday made his arrangements
for an advance and attack in force on the morning of the 31st. His
troops remained in line of battle, ready to move with the early
dawn of the coming day. The two armies were now arrayed only some
five hundred yards apart, facing each other, and eager for the
conflict of the morrow.

At nine o'clock on the evening of the 30th, the corps commanders
met at Rosecrans's headquarters, in the cedars near the Murfreesboro
pike, to receive their final instructions and to learn the details
of the plan of battle for the next day. McCook was directed with
his three divisions to occupy the most advantageous position,
refusing his right as much as practicable and necessary to secure
it, to await the attack of the enemy, and in the event of that
not being made, to himself engage and hold the force on his front,
Johnson's division held the extreme right of his line; on Johnson's
left was Davis's division, and on Davis's left Sheridan's was
posted. Thomas was instructed to open with skirmishing and engage
the enemy's centre with Negley's division of his command and Palmer's
of Crittenden's corps, Negley's right resting on Sheridan's left,
and Palmer's right on the left of Negley, Rousseau being in reserve.
Crittenden was ordered to move Van Cleve's division across the river
at the lower ford, covered and supported by the pioneer brigade
and at once advance on Breckinridge. Wood's division was to
follow--crossing at the upper ford and joining Van Cleve's right--when
they were to press everything before them into Murfreesboro. This
gave a strong attack from two divisions of Federal troops on the
one of Breckinridge's, which was known to be the only one of the
enemy's on the east of the river. As soon as Breckinridge had been
dislodged from his position, the artillery of Wood's division was
to take position on the heights east of the river and open fire on
the enemy's lines on the other side, which could here be seen in
reverse, and dislodge them, when Palmer was to drive them southward
across the river or through the wood. Sustained by the advance
of the Centre under Thomas crushing their right, Crittenden was to
keep advancing, take Murfreesboro, move rapidly westward on the
Franklin pike, get on their flank and rear and drive them into
the country toward Salem, with the prospect of cutting off their
retreat and probably destroying their army. Rosecrans called the
attention of the corps commanders to the fact that this combination,
which gave to him such a superiority on the left, depended for its
success upon McCook's maintaining his position on the right for at
least three hours, and if compelled to fall back that he should do
so in the same manner he had advanced the day before, slowly and
steadily, refusing his right. McCook was asked if he could hold
his position for three hours, and replied that he thought he could.
The importance of doing so was again impressed upon him, and the
officers then separated.

As will be seen, the plan of battle as formed by Rosecrans
contemplated a feint attack by his right, which in the event of a
repulse was to fall back slowly, contesting the ground stubbornly,
while the main attack was to be made by the forces on the left,
followed up the advance of the centre, the right to be temporarily
sacrificed for the success of the general plan. Rosecrans knew
that Bragg had weakened his right to support his left, looking to
offensive movements on his part, and that the vital point in his
own plan was the ability of McCook to hold the enemy in check on
his front.

During the 30th, Bragg formed his plan of battle, which, singular
as it appears, was the exact counterpart of that of the Federal
commander. Hardee on the left, with McCown's and Cleburne's
divisions, was to advance against the Federal right, which being
forced back, Polk and Withers's and Cheatham's divisions were then
to push the centre. The movement made by a steady wheel to the
right on the right of Polk's command as a pivot. Bragg's plan
was to drive our right and centre back against our left on Stone's
River, seize our line of communication with Nashville, thus cutting
us off from our base of operations and supplies, and ultimately
securing the objective of his campaign, Nashville. Bragg's plan
was equally as bold as that of his opponent--whose command was
slightly inferior in strength to the rebel force--and the success
of either depended very largely on the degree of diligence in
opening the engagement. Rosecrans's orders were for the troops
to breakfast before daylight and attack at seven o'clock. Bragg
issued orders to attack at daylight.

Chapter VIII.

The Battle of Stone's River.

With early light, on the morning of the 31st, the movement in each
army began. Rosecrans had established his headquarters in the rear
of the left, in order to direct in person the forward movement of
that portion of his army which was to cross Stone's River, sweep
all resistance before it, and swing into Murfreesboro. The command
was given, and at once Van Cleve advanced two brigades, making the
crossing of the river at the lower ford without opposition. Wood's
division had reached the river bank prepared to make the crossing
and support Van Cleve. Everything on the left appeared to be working
satisfactorily, when the opening sounds of the enemy's attack on
the right reached the left. This was as intended, and went to show
that if Bragg's left was fully occupied he then could give the less
attention to his right, engaged by our army. with high hopes the
troops then pressing forward continued to cross the river. Within
an hour after the opening of the battle, one of McCook's staff
officers reported to Rosecrans that the Right Wing was heavily
pressed and needed assistance. Rosecrans was not told of the rout
of Johnson's division, nor of the rapid withdrawal of Davis, made
necessary thereby. Rosecrans, sending word to McCook to make a
stubborn fight, continued his own offensive movement. Everything
was working well as far as he knew. His strong force on the left
was not yet engaged. This he could hurl at the enemy's line of
communications and strike on the flank of Bragg's army that was
flanking him. Soon after another staff officer from McCook arrived
and reported that the entire Right Wing was being driven, a fact
that manifested itself by the troops from the broken divisions
pouring forth from the cedars in alarming numbers, and by the rapid
movement of the noise of the battle to the north. Then Rosecrans
saw the necessity of abandoning his own movement, of recalling the
left, and of proceeding at once to the right to save what was left
of that corps as speedily as possible. He ordered back his left
from across the river, and calling on his staff to mount, rode full
gallop over to the right to reform that command on a new line and
save his army. Now that he was on the defensive, after McCook's
disaster, it was impossible to carry out his original plan of

On the 30th, McCown in posting his division placed Ector's and
Rains's brigades in the first line, and McNair's brigade in the
second. Hardee ordered McCown at once to change this so as to
bring McNair on the front line. This order was not obeyed until the
morning of the 31st, when the movement was made, causing, however,
some delay in the advance of Hardee's command on our right. At
half past six o'clock, McCown's division in the front line with
Cleburne's division in the second swinging around by a continuous
change of direction to the right, advanced on to the right of McCook.
McCown did not properly execute the movement as intended, and was
carried so far west as to leave a gap in the rebel front between
Withers's left and McCown's right. Into this gap Cleburne immediately
threw his division, and advanced, filling the interval in the front
line between McCown and Polk. This gave Hardee double the length
of front originally contemplated, and made it a single line instead
of a double with division front. These two divisions thus formed
then struck McCook's right flank--Johnson's division. McCook's line
was very weak and poorly posted. It was thin and light, without
reserves, with neither the troops nor commanding officers in their
places, as they should have been, under Rosecrans's orders of the
evening before.

Every soldier on that field knew when the sun went down on the 30th
that on the following day he would be engaged in a struggle unto
death, and the air was full of tokens that one of the most desperate
of battles was to be fought. In the face of all this, Johnson, the
commander of the First Division on the right, was not on the line
nor near enough to his troops to give orders to them, his headquarters
being a mile and a half in the rear. General Willich the commander
of the Second Brigade, which had been posted for the express purpose
of protecting the extreme right of our army, was absent from his
command at division headquarters. His brigade was not even in line,
as they had been ordered to get their breakfast. The batteries of
the division were not properly posted, and in some cases the horses
were away from the guns to the rear for water. All this was criminal
negligence--a failure in the performance of duty--for which some
one should have suffered. To the faulty position of the line and
to the unprepared condition of the troops is to be attributed the
almost overwhelming disaster that overtook our army on that day.
As the two divisions of the enemy advanced, Kirk threw forward the
Forty-fourth Illinois to support the skirmish line, and called on
Willich's brigade for help. This brigade being without an immediate
commander, no effort was made to support Kirk. The contest was
too unequal to be maintained for any great length of time, and
Johnson's division, after a sharp and spirited but fruitless contest,
crumbling to pieces, was driven back with a loss of eleven guns.
Kirk was mortally wounded and Willich was captured, returning to
his command as it was driven back. Kirk's brigade lost 473 killed
and wounded, and had 342 captured. Willich's brigade had a few
less killed and wounded, but more than twice that number captured.

Baldwin in reserve near headquarters was too far from the front
to aid in supporting either of the other brigades of Johnson's
division. Stragglers from Kirk's and Willich's brigades gave the
first information to Baldwin of the disaster on the right. Hastily
forming his troops, he had barely time to post them in line of battle
before the enemy in immense masses appeared on his front at short
range, their left extending far beyond the extreme right of his
line. Opening at once a destructive fire upon their dense masses
with his infantry and artillery, Baldwin succeeded in checking
their advance in his front, but their left continued to swing around
on his right. Here four pieces of Simonson's battery posted near
the woods in the rear of the first position opened with terrible
effect. The enemy came on in such overwhelming numbers, that after
half an hour's stubborn resistance Baldwin was compelled to retire,
not however until the enemy had flanked his right and were pouring
in an enfilading fire. As it was he barely made his escape, since
in a moment longer his entire command would have been surrounded
and captured. At the edge of the woods Baldwin endeavored to make
another stand, but before he could form his line he was again forced
back. Retiring slowly, with several halts in the cedars, Baldwin
with his brigade reached the railroad where the rest of the division
was being reformed.

The right flank being driven from its position by the left of the
enemy, Davis's division then felt the full force of the victorious
sweep of the rebel troops, flushed with success and aided by the
forces immediately in his front. Davis, as soon as the disaster
on his right had fully developed, at once changed front and formed
a new line, with his right brigade under Post nearly at right angles
to its former position, and made all necessary disposition of his
troops to receive the attack. Baldwin's brigade had hastily taken
position and had already felt the force of the enemy's concentrated
attack. Still the advancing lines of the enemy greatly overlapped
the extreme right of Baldwin. Hardly had the troops been placed
in this position before the enemy swept down in heavy masses upon
both the flank and front, charging with the rebel yell. The two
divisions of McCown's and Cleburne's troops which had driven Johnson,
hurled themselves upon Baldwin's and Post's brigades, while the
fresh troops of Withers's division, composed of Manigualt's and
Loomis's brigades, rushed upon those of Davis, under Carlin and
Woodruff, and upon that on the right of Sheridan's line under Sill.
The change of position of Post's brigade gave to the two remaining
brigades of Davis's division, and Sill's brigade of Sheridan's
command, the length of division front, and on this the enemy made
a united attack. After Baldwin had been compelled to retire, Post
repulsed the attack on his brigade, and Carlin, Woodruff, and Sill
in the front drove back the assaulting column of the rebels with
heavy loss. The enemy then reformed his lines, strengthened them
with his reserves under Vaughan and Maney of Cheatham's division
and once more pressed forward. Again these heavy lines struck
Carlin, Woodruff, and Sill, and were again handsomely repulsed;
Sill gallantly charging the rebels and driving them into their line
of intrenchments. In this charge, General Sill was killed. His
brigade then slowly retired and formed anew in line of battle.
Cleburne at the same time charged down on Post's brigade, and he
too was a second time repulsed.

The formation of the battle-front of Davis's two left brigades under
Carlin and Woodruff was almost perpendicular to that of Sheridan's
division, and the left of Woodruff's with the right of Sill's
brigade formed the apex of a right triangle. This position was
at once observed by the enemy, who saw that if he could take this
extreme point of the angle he would be in position to enfilade both
lines at once. For the possession of this point every effort was
made, and a third attack was ordered upon it with four brigades,
under the immediate command of Cheatham, in double lines. Hardee
had gathered his command together again for another attack on Post's
position. Pressing forward with the victorious troops of McCown's
and Cleburne's divisions--the troops that had swept Johnson from
the field--he enveloped both flanks of Post's brigade, and compelled
him to fall back, with the loss of one gun, to the Nashville pike,
where he also reformed his command.

On the withdrawal of Post's brigade, Carlin's right was left exposed
to the enemy, who with renewed vigor pressed forward in overwhelming
numbers on converging lines, massing as they advanced. Circling
around on their right the rebels swept down on the remaining brigades
of Davis's division in dense columns. In the previous charge the
attack had been so heavy upon the angle formed by Woodruff's left
and Sill's right, that in the new formation--after the second
repulse--the line at this point was somewhat broken, and after
Sill's death the right of the brigade was reformed somewhat to the
rear of the former line, the better to support the battery attached
to it. In the heavy fighting of the morning the position of all
the brigades had been more or less changed, and in several instances
the commanding officer of each brigade considered his command as
being without support on either flank. On the third assault both
Carlin and Woodruff thought this to be the case with their commands,
and in the attack then made upon their brigades they became almost
surrounded. Carlin stubbornly resisted every effort to drive him
from his position until by his remaining longer the loss of his
entire brigade became imminent. His regiment on the left gave way
and he then retreated across open fields in the rear to the edge
of the woods, where Davis was attempting to reform his line, having
placed Hotchkiss's battery just within the timber. Woodruff then
fell back, but being closely pressed, turned and with a determined
charge sent the enemy beyond his original position. Being unsupported
he was compelled to retire into the cedars. Before Woodruff reached
the new lines that Davis was trying to form, Carlin's troops opened
fire on the advancing enemy, when he was informed that Davis had
ordered a farther withdrawal. He then fell back across the Wilkinson
pike, where he rallied his men, who however, on the advance of
the enemy, fired one volley and broke to the rear without orders.
Carlin then went with them through the lines of reserves, halting
at the railroad, where he reformed his command. After reaching the
cedars Woodruff charged a second time, and compelled the enemy to
fall back, but his ammunition giving out, his troops passed to the
rear, resisting every effort to rally them until they reached the
Murfreesboro pike.

Davis's division had up to this time protected Sheridan's right,
and these divisions unitedly had resisted two assaults. After the
charge of the enemy that broke Davis's division and sent it through
the cedars, Sheridan was compelled to change his line and to protect
the right flank of his command from the enemy, now pressing that
part of his position, as well as his front, in increasing numbers,
as the line became shortened. Hastily withdrawing Sill's brigade,
with the reserves sent it as support, he directed Roberts, with
the left brigade, which had changed front and formed in columns
of regiments, to charge the enemy in the cedars from which he had
withdrawn Sill's brigade and the reserves. This charge was at once
made by Roberts, and the enemy's advance checked sufficiently to
give Sheridan time to form his troops on the new line, which he
at once did by placing Sill's and Shafer's brigades on a line at
right angles to his first one, and ordered Roberts to return and
form his command on this same line. Sheridan now attempted to
form the broken troops of the other division on the right of his
new line, but in this he was not successful. After making a gallant
fight with his division, finding the right of his new line turned,
Sheridan was directed by McCook to advance to the front and reform
his troops to the right of Negley's division of the Centre under
Thomas. Throwing forward his left to join Negley's right, he
placed Roberts's brigade in position at right angles to Negley's
line, facing south, and then placed his two other brigades in the
rear, and at right angles to Roberts, so as to face westward and
to cover the rear of Negley's lines. In the angle of these lines
on the right of Negley, he placed his artillery. Here he was again
fiercely assaulted by the enemy, and one of the fiercest and most
sanguinary contests of the day ensued. Massing the four divisions
of Hardee's and Polk's corps--each of four brigades--Bragg hurled
them against the divisions of Sheridan and Negley, and at the same
time the enemy opened fire from the intrenchments in the direction
of Murfreesboro. Here the fighting was terrific. Five batteries
were posted with these two divisions, the artillery range of the
respective forces being not to exceed two hundred yards. Three
times in dense masses the enemy charged on these divisions, and
three times were they repulsed. Here Colonel Roberts was killed.
Sheridan's troops having now exhausted their ammunition--Shafer's
brigade being entirely out and nearly all his horses killed--then
gave way, after over four hours of some of the hottest fighting of
the day. Sheridan lost in falling back from this position eight
guns. Nearly all the remainder of his artillery was drawn by his
men through the cedars. On arriving at the Murfreesboro pike,
Sheridan reformed his command in an open space near the right of

Before assisting in the gallant fight on the right of the center
with Sheridan in his new position, Negley's division, after
repelling all assaults made on it, had been engaged in heavy fighting
on its front since the middle of the morning. On the withdrawal
of Sheridan, Negley's division found themselves surrounded by the
enemy in swarms. Rousseau's division in reserve, and Palmer's
on the left, had retired to the rear of the cedars, to form a new
line. Falling back through the cedar-brakes in the rear of the
division, under a concentrated fire of musketry and artillery at
short range, the rebels were driven back in front and checked in
the rear. Miller's and Stanley's brigades on reaching the woods
reformed their lines, faced to the rear and fired several volleys
into the enemy, then advanced over the open fields across which
these brigades had just retired. In passing through the cedars
the enemy pressed so closely on the division that in some parts of
Miller's brigade the lines of the opposing armies seemed commingled.
The division then reformed on the new line, as directed by Thomas,
near the Nashville pike.

Early in the day, with the breaking up and retreat of the two fine
divisions of McCook's corps, the extent of the disaster to the right
was forced upon Rosecrans with terrible earnestness. Realizing at
once that upon him devolved the task of making such disposition of
his command as would ensure the safety of his army, he immediately
gave the necessary orders for the movement of the troops. Hurriedly
galloping to the centre, where he found Thomas, he at once ordered
Rousseau's division--held as reserve heretofore--to be sent to the
support of what was left of McCook's line into the cedar-brakes to
the right and rear of Sheridan. Rosecrans then ordered Crittenden
to suspend Van Cleve's movement across the river on the left, to cover
the crossing with one brigade, and to move the other two brigades
westward across the fields toward the railroad for a reserve. He
also directed Wood to suspend his preparations for his crossing
and for him to move at once to the new line on the right and hold
Hascall in reserve. Up to this time Rosecrans had hoped that
McCook, notwithstanding the disaster to the right, might stay the
onset with his own troops. With the volume of stragglers and the
detachments from the broken commands swarming to the rear through
the cedars Rosecrans soon became satisfied that McCook was routed.
He then ordered Van Cleve to be sent in to the right of Rousseau,
and Wood to send Colonel Harker's brigade farther down the Murfreesboro
pike with orders to go in and attack the enemy on the right of Van
Cleve. The pioneer brigade had been posted on the knoll of ground
west of the Nashville pike and about four or five hundred yards
in the rear of Palmer's centre, supporting Stokes's battery. On
Negley's division being compelled to retire, Thomas ordered him
with Rousseau to form their divisions along a depression in the
open ground in rear of the cedars, as a temporary line, until the
artillery could be posted on the high ground near to and west of
the Murfreesboro pike. Rousseau's division, cutting its way through
the enemy in falling back from the cedars, took position on this
temporary line with all its batteries posted on the knoll a short
distance to the rear. Here the severest engagement of this day of
heavy fighting was had, almost hand to hand. At this point the new
line had open ground in front of it for some four or five hundred
yards. Rousseau, while his batteries were unlimbering, requested
Van Cleve to move with Colonel Samuel Beatty's brigade of his
division to form on his right, check the rebel advance and drive
it back. Van Cleve instantly moved his troops on the double quick
and reached the desired position in good season. Upon these troops
in this new line the rebels charged in dense masses, flushed with
the victory of the early morning and elate with the hope of continued
success to the end. They had swept everything before them thus
far, and felt that with renewed effort the successful issue of the
battle was within their grasp. Emerging from the cedars with yell
after yell, firing as they came, they rushed forward four lines
deep in the attempt to cross the open field and drive back this
new line that stood in their pathway to final victory. At once
Rousseau's division and Beatty's brigade opened fire upon the
advancing columns, while Guenther's and Loomis's batteries added
effect to it by sending double shotted canister into their thick
ranks. The rebels moved on for a time, but the fire proved too
terrible and they were driven back with great slaughter. On reaching
the cedars these troops were rallied by their officers, and with
fresh troops as supports they advanced once more, with a determined
effort to carry our position at this point. But again they were,
after a more desperate struggle, driven back. Again and again they
returned to the assault, in four deliberate and fiercely sustained
efforts, each time to meet with a repulse. The brigade of regulars
under the command of Colonel Shepherd sustained the heaviest blows
of this assault. They had the efficient support of Scribner's and
John Beatty's brigades, of Loomis's and Guenther's batteries, and
of the pioneer brigade under Captain St. Clair Morton, with Stokes's
battery. Sheppard's command lost in killed and wounded in this
short and severe contest, 26 officers and 611 enlisted men, making
a total loss of 637 out of 1,566 effectives. The centre succeeded
in driving back the enemy from its front, gallantly holding its
ground against overwhelming odds, while the artillery concentrating
its fire on the cedar thickets on their right drove the enemy far
back under cover of the woods.

While the right and centre had been thus actively engaged, the left
had also borne its full share of the heavy fighting of the day.
Palmer's division was posted in line of battle with his right
resting on Negley's left. His line was formed with Cruft's brigade
on the right, connecting with Negley, and his left extending across
a point of woods to the right of Hazen's brigade, which was formed
in two lines with his left resting on the Nashville pike, while
Grose's brigade was in reserve some two hundred yards to the rear,
formed in two lines nearly opposite the interval between the brigades
in line of battle. On the withdrawal of the troops of the left
from across the river, Wood ordered Wagner with his brigade to hold
his position in the woods on the left of the Murfreesboro pike at
all hazards, this being an exceedingly important point, protecting
our left front and flanks and securing command of the road leading
to the rear. Hascall's and Harker's brigades were withdrawn, and
the latter, under an order from Rosecrans, was moved to the right
and rear. In the heavy fighting of the general movement on the
right and centre, the left gradually became engaged, and with this
Hascall was ordered by Wood to take position between Wagner and
Hazen on Wagner's right. With the general advance of the enemy,
moving on the right of Polk's corps as a pivot, Palmer and the
two brigades of Wood's division on the left became engaged. Cruft
early in the morning had been ordered by Palmer to advance, keeping
in line with Negley, the latter having sent word to Palmer that he
intended to advance his division to attack the enemy. Cruft was
advanced in two lines, two regiments in each line with Miller's
brigade of Negley's division on the right and Hazen's brigade on
his left. After Cruft had advanced about a hundred yards, Palmer
discovered that Negley had thrown back his right so that his line
was almost perpendicular to Cruft's and to his rear. After Cruft
had driven the enemy's skirmishers in, the rebels advanced in great
force in four ranks with double lines, Chalmers in the front line
with Donelson's brigade following. This charge Cruft repulsed,
inflicting severe loss on the enemy. Chalmers was so severely
wounded by the bursting of a shell as to disqualify him for further
duty on the field. Advancing once more, the rebels again attacked
Cruft's line, when a very severe engagement ensued, and after some
thirty minutes' firing the enemy was again repulsed. When Negley's
division went back through the cedars, Cruft was left without
support on his right and he then withdrew to the wood, the enemy
following him closely and pressing him hard. While Cruft was thus
engaged on the front, Palmer found that the right and centre had
been driven from the first line, and that the enemy in Negley's
front was forcing his way into the open ground to his rear. He
then changed Grose from front to rear, retired his new left so as
to bring the rebels under the direct fire of his line, and opened
on them with great effect, holding his ground until the enemy was
driven back. Hazen was ordered to fall back from the advanced
position he then held, and to occupy the crest of a low wooded
hill between the pike and the railroad, and there resist the attack.
This was about eleven o'clock, and all of Palmer's command was
engaged with the enemy--Hazen on the railroad, one or two detached
regiments to the right, Cruft still farther to the right, actively
engaged, while Grose to the rear was fighting heavy odds. Grose
shortly after this changed to the front again, the enemy being
driven back from his rear, and moved to the left to co-operate
with Hazen. After aiding in the repulse of the troops that struck
Cruft's lines, Hazen with constant firing maintained his position
on his left at the railroad, retiring his right to place his troops
behind the embankment at that place. General Palmer had ordered
Grose to co-operate with Hazen, and part of Grose's troops reporting
to him, they were placed in position on the front. Here was held
what was considered by the enemy to be the key to our position,
known as the "Round Forest." This was attacked by the right of
Donelson's brigade, but the attack was met with a fire that mowed
down half its number, one regiment losing 207 out of 402. In
another regiment the loss was 306 out of 425. Polk finding that
his troops had been so severely punished that they were not able
to renew the attack on the extreme left of our line, and that the
new line on the right as formed by Rosecrans resisted every attack,
applied for an order from Bragg directing four brigades from
Breckenridge's command to be sent to him to drive our left from
its line, and especially to dislodge us from our position in the
"Round Forest." These brigades were sent to him, arriving in two
detachments of two brigades each. Adams and Jackson's brigades
first reported, under Breckinridge in person. Those of Preston
and Palmer reported about two hours later. About two o'clock in
the afternoon Adams and Jackson's brigades assailed our left with
determined energy, but after a severe contest they were compelled
to yield and fall back. They were rallied by Breckenridge, but
were too badly cut up to renew the attack. About four o'clock, on
the arrival of the brigades of Preston and Palmer, the assault on
the left was renewed and again repulsed, when the enemy withdrew and
made no further attack upon that position. When this last attack
was made, Rosecrans, anxious as to this vital point of his lines,
hurried there with his staff to assist in the repulse. It was here
that a shell grazing the person of Rosecrans carried off the head
of his chief of staff, the lamented Garesché.

The new line formed by Rosecrans to protect his communication extended
from Hazen on the Murfreesboro pike in a northwesterly direction,
Hascall supporting Hazen, Rousseau filling the interval to the
pioneer brigade, Negley in reserve, Van Cleve west of the pioneer
brigade, McCook's corps refused on his right and slightly to the rear
on the Nashville pike, with the cavalry at and beyond Overall's
Creek. After the formation had been completed later in the afternoon,
with a wild yell the enemy debouched from the cedar thickets, and
forming into line, advanced as if to charge once more. At once a
terrific fire of artillery and infantry opened on them, and their
broken ranks went back over the fields driven in great confusion;
the batteries Rosecrans had placed on the commanding ground near
the railroad inflicting a heavier loss on Polk's brigade than it
had suffered in all the previous fighting of the day. This attack
was in the main repulsed by Van Cleve's division, aided by Harker's
brigade, and the cavalry under General Stanley. This was the last
assault on the right and centre, and with the repulse of Breckinridge's
command on the left, the fighting for the day was over; and on the
field where death had reaped such a heavy harvest, on the last day
of 1862, the troops slept on their arms, waiting for what the next
day might bring forth. The night was clear and cold. The armies
maintained their relative positions, with some picket firing
occurring during the night. Rosecrans gave orders that all the
spare ammunition should be issued, and it was found that there was
enough for another battle, the main question being where the battle
was to be fought. During the night Rosecrans, in order to complete
the new formation of his lines, withdrew the left from the advanced
position it occupied, and placed it in line some two hundred and
fifty yards to the rear, on more advantageous ground, the extreme
left resting on Stone's River above the lower ford and extending
to the railroad. Late in the afternoon the brigades under Colonels
Starkweather and Walker, that had been on duty in the rear, arrived
at the front and were posted in reserve on the line of battle, the
former in rear of McCook's left, and Walker in rear of the left of
Sheridan's division near the Murfreesboro pike. On the morning of
the 1st they were placed in the front line, relieving Van Cleve,
who then returned to his position on the left.

The extent of the disaster on the right was appalling and seemed
at one time about to envelop the entire army. As the storm of
battle passed down the line it reached Thomas, who cool, calm, and
self-sustained, stood the test of one of the fiercest contests of
the war. It was to him that Rosecrans first turned in the hour of
disaster and in him he trusted most. The commander of the army,
too, was sorely tried. He had come to win victory, but in place
of it defeat seemed almost inevitable. Reforming his lines and
bravely fighting, he had hurled back Bragg's army before it had
achieved any decisive success. Rosecrans knew that his losses had
been extremely heavy, but those of the enemy had been still more
severe. He felt that on a question of endurance his army would
come out first, although the dash and onset of the rebels had at
the opening been able to sweep all before them. In the face of
an earnest effort on the part of some of his general officers to
persuade him to fall back to Nashville and then throw up works and
wait for reinforcements, Rosecrans determined to await the attack
of the enemy in the positions of his lines late Wednesday afternoon.
He sent for the provision trains, ordered up fresh supplies
of ammunition, and decided that if Bragg should not attack before
these arrived, that he himself would then resume offensive operations.

During the morning of January 1, 1863, the rebels made repeated
attempts to advance on Thomas's front in the centre, but were driven
back before emerging from the woods. Crittenden was ordered to
send Van Cleve's division across the river, to occupy the position
opposite the ford on his left, his right resting on high ground
near the river and his left thrown forward perpendicular to it.
The rebel right, under Polk, kept up a brisk skirmish fire on their
front. Chalmer's brigade was ordered to occupy the ground in front
of the "Round Forest." Bragg, anticipating an attack on his right
under Breckinridge on the morning of the 1st, during the night
ordered two brigades of that division to recross to the east side
of the river. But none was made. About two o'clock in the afternoon
the enemy showed signs of movement, by massing large numbers of
his troops on our right at the extremity of an open field a mile
and a half from the Murfreesboro pike. Here the rebels formed in
lines six deep, and passed thus heavily, remained without advancing
for over an hour. Gibson's brigade and battery occupied the woods
near Overall's creek, while Negley's was placed as support on
McCook's right. The evident design of Bragg during the day was
simply to feel the lines of our army to find out if Rosecrans was
retreating. Satisfied of this, he felt that while he could maintain
his position he was not in condition to attack, after the heavy
hammering his army had received the day before.

At daylight the next day Bragg gave orders to his corps commanders
to feel our lines and ascertain Rosecrans's position. Fire was
opened from four batteries on the centre, and a demonstration of
force was made by his infantry, followed by another on McCook; but
at all points meeting with a heavy artillery fire, he concluded that
our army still occupied the battle field in force. Bragg ordered
Wharton's and Pegram's brigades of cavalry to cross to the right
bank of Stone's River immediately in Breckinridge's front. Soon
after this a number of his staff officers discovered for the first
time that Van Cleve's troops, sent over the day before, had quietly
crossed unopposed, and had established themselves on and under cover
of an eminence from which Polk's line was commanded and enfiladed.
It was an evident necessity either to withdraw Polk's line or to
dislodge Van Cleve's. The first alternative was not to be entertained
until the failure of an attempt to accomplish the latter. Polk was
at once ordered to send over to Breckenridge the remaining brigades
belonging to his division still with Polk, and Breckenridge, reporting
to Bragg, received his orders. The attack was to be made with the
four brigades of Breckinridge's command, the cavalry protecting
his right and co-operating with him. The crest of ground near the
river, where Van Cleve's division was in position, was the point
against which the main attack was to be directed. This taken,
Breckinridge was to bring up his artillery and establish it on the
high ground, so as to enfilade our lines on the other side of the
river. Polk was to open with a heavy fire on our left as Breckinridge
commenced his advance. The signal for the attack was to be one gun
from the centre, and four o'clock was the hour set for the firing
of this gun.

Breckinridge drew up his division in two lines, the first in a
narrow skirt of woods, the other some two hundred yards in rear.
General Pillow, after the first day's fighting, reporting for
duty, was assigned to the command of Palmer's brigade. Pillow's
and Hanson's brigades formed the first line, Preston's and Adams's
brigades the second. The artillery was placed in rear of the
second line, and in addition to that of his brigade, ten Napoleon
guns--12-pounders--were sent to aid in the attack.

Van Cleve's division was under the command of Colonel Samuel Beatty,
with Price's brigade on the right next to the river, Fyffe's brigade
on the left. Grider's brigade formed Beatty's support, while a
brigade of Palmer's division was placed in position on the extreme
left to protect that flank. Drury's battery was posted in the
rear. In front of Breckinridge's line was an open space some six
hundred and fifty yards in width, with a gentle ascent which it
was necessary for his troops to cross before reaching our lines.
Several hundred yards in the rear of the latter was the river,
increasing the distance as it flowed beyond our left.

General Rosecrans had ordered Crittenden to send Beatty's division
across the river as protection to the troops on the left and centre,
as from the high ground near the river the enemy, by an enfilading
fire, could sweep these portions of our line. During the morning
of the 2d Negley's division was ordered from the right, and placed
in position on the west bank of the river, in the rear of Beatty's
division, as reserves, being here on the left of Hazen's and Cruft's
brigades of Palmer's division.

As soon as Breckinridge's command entered the open ground to his
front, the artillery massed on the west bank of the river by order
of Crittenden, consisting of all the guns of the left wing, together
with the batteries belonging to Negley's division and Stoke's
battery, making 58 guns in position, opened a heavy, accurate,
and destructive fire. Large numbers of the enemy fell before they
reached Beatty's infantry lines. Pressing forward without waiting
to throw out a skirmish line, Breckinridge's command swept onward,
reckless of the artillery fire and that of the infantry, and struck
Price's and Grider's brigades, broke their lines, drove them from
their position on to their support in the rear, which also gave
way, when the entire division retreated in broken ranks across
the river, taking refuge behind the line of Negley's division, and
there reforming. Breckenridge reports that he "after a brief but
bloody conflict routed both the opposing lines, took 400 prisoners
and several flags, and drove their artillery and the great body
of their infantry across the river." His success, however, was
exceedingly short-lived. Colonel John F. Miller, commanding the
right brigade of Negley's division, had, in the absence of Negley
in the rear, ordered the troops of his division to lie down under
cover of the bluff of the river bank, and hold their fire until
our troops from the other side crossed over and moved to the rear.
As soon as the last of Beatty's men had passed through Miller's lines,
he commanded the division to rise and open fire on Breckinridge's
troops. Miller's fire was so effectively given as to cause the
enemy at once to recoil, Breckenridge's command being also under
the artillery fire on the left, enfilading his ranks. His division
soon wavered, and then began falling back. At this Miller-Negley
still not appearing--ordered the division to charge across the
river, and to drive the enemy from their line of intrenchments,
which they did. While crossing, Miller received word from Palmer
not to cross his command, but as the greater part of his troops
were over the river driving the enemy, Miller pressed on in person,
and hurried the troops last to cross, up to the support of those in
the advance. He was then ordered by Palmer to recross the river,
and to support the artillery on the hill on the west bank. The
troops under Miller were then advancing through the cornfield,
driving the enemy, and as his right flank was fully protected, he
had no inclination to turn back, and he ordered the troops forward.
One of the enemy's batteries was posted in a wood just beyond the
cornfield to the front. It was keeping up a brisk fire on Miller's
advance, when he ordered his men to charge this battery, which
they did, capturing three guns. At the time of the charge the
Twenty-sixth Tennessee was supporting the battery. This regiment
was broken by the assault, a large number of them captured, with
the colors of the command. Sending the prisoners, guns, and colors
to the rear, Miller reformed his line so as to hold the ground
until relieved by other troops. These being crossed over the river
under Hazen, together with Davis's division, Miller's command
returned to the west bank of the river and there reformed the
division in line, and took position for the night. Negley himself
was not across the river with the command during the engagement.

Bragg was deeply chagrined at the failure of Breckinridge's movement.
In his report of the action he says, "The contest was short and
severe, the enemy were 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, to the left so far
as to throw a portion of them into and over Stone's River, where
they encountered heavy masses of the enemy, while those against
whom they were intended to operate had a destructive enfilade on
our whole line. Our reserve line was so close to the front 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."
Bragg immediately sent Anderson's brigade across the river, which
formed in line on the front of Breckinridge's command, and remained
there in position during the night. He also sent Cleburne's
division over, and placed Hardee in command of that side of the
river. Rosecrans ordered Davis to take and hold the line occupied
by Beatty's division. Later, all the troops of Crittenden's corps
crossed the river and occupied the crests, intrenching themselves
in this position.

During the morning of the 3d Bragg ordered a heavy and constant
picket firing to be kept up on his front, to determine whether our
army still confronted him. At one point in the wood to the left of
the Murfreesboro pike the rebel sharpshooters had all day annoyed
Rousseau, who requested permission to dislodge them from their
supports, coving a ford at that place. About six o'clock in the
evening two regiments from John Beatty's brigade of Rousseau's
division, co-operating with two regiments of Spear's brigade of
Negley's division, under cover of a brisk artillery fire, advanced
on the woods and drove the enemy not only from their cover, but
also from their intrenchments a short distance from the rear.

At noon Bragg, on consultation with his generals, decided to retreat,
leaving the field in possession of his opponent. At 12.15 of the
night of the 2d, after Breckinridge's failure, Cleburne and Withers
had sent a communication to Bragg's headquarters, through Polk,
stating that there was but "three brigades that are at all reliable,
and even some of these are more or less demoralized from having
some brigade commanders who do not possess the confidence of their
commands." They expressed their fears of great disaster which
should be avoided by retreat. This was endorsed by Polk at 12.30
A.M., January 3d, "I send you the enclosed papers as requested, and
I am compelled to add that after seeing the effect of the operations
of to-day, added to that produced upon the troops by the battle of
the 31st, I very greatly fear the consequences of another engagement
at this place on the ensuing day. We could now perhaps get off with
some safety, and with some credit if the affair was well managed;
should we fail in the meditated attack, the consequences might be
very disastrous."

By 11 P.M. the whole of Bragg's army, except his cavalry, was in
retreat in good order to a position behind Duck River. His cavalry
held the front at Murfreesboro until Monday morning, when they
fell back and covered Bragg's immediate front. Sunday the 4th was
spent in burying the dead, and the cavalry was sent to reconnoitre.
On the 5th Thomas's entire command, preceded by Stanley's cavalry,
marched into Murfreesboro, and encamped on the Manchester and
Shelbyville road.

The cavalry under Stanley rendered very efficient service on the
advance from Nashville. Dividing these troops into three columns
he sent the first brigade under Colonel Minty with Crittenden's
corps; the second brigade under Colonel Zahm moved to the right,
protecting McCook's right flank; the reserve Stanley commanded in
person, and moved with the head of McCook's command on the Nolinsville
pike. Colonel John Kennett, in command of the cavalry division,
commanded the cavalry on the Murfreesboro pike. There was constant
skirmishing between the enemy's cavalry and artillery and each
of the columns up to the 31st, as the army advanced, getting into
position. At midnight on the 30th, Stanley moved with part of his
command to Lavergne, where the enemy's cavalry was interfering with
the trains. At 9.30 he was ordered by General Rosecrans to hasten
to the right and cover McCook's flank. On reaching there he found
McCook's new line formed on the Nashville road, when the enemy's
skirmishers advanced and drove Stanley's dismounted cavalry out of
the woods to the open field. Here he was re-enforced, and charging
the rebels routed them, driving them back to their lines. On the
1st Zahm's brigade was sent to Lavergne to protect the wagon trains
being sent to Nashville. He had several skirmishes with Wheeler,
but finally secured the safety of the train and repulsed every
attack of the rebel cavalry.

On the 2d and 3d of January the cavalry was engaged in watching
the flanks of our position. On the 4th Stanley discovered that
the enemy had fled. Collecting his cavalry he moved to the fords
of Stone's River, in readiness to cross, and on the 5th, preceding
Thomas, they entered Murfreesboro. Zahm's command went out on the
Shelbyville pike six miles, meeting with no opposition. Stanley
with the rest of his cavalry marched down the Manchester pike,
encountering the enemy's cavalry strongly posted at Lytle's Creek in
heavy force. Fighting here until sundown, the rebels were driven
from one cedar-brake to another until Spear's brigade came up, when
they were driven from their last stand in disorder. The cavalry
returned and camped at Lytle's Creek to recuperate, after nine
days of active campaigning. During this time the saddles were only
taken off the horses to groom them, and were immediately replaced.

Bragg in his retreat left in his hospitals all his wounded in
Murfreesboro. By this some 2,500 prisoners fell into our hands to
be cared for.

Thus, after seven days' battle, the Army of the Cumberland rested
in Murfreesboro having achieved the object of the winter campaign.
The final battle for Kentucky had been fought by Bragg and lost.
Nashville, too, was now beyond his hopes, and for the great victory
of the 31st, which he claimed, Bragg had but little to show.

In the heavy skirmishing prior to the 31st, success attended every
movement of the Federal army. The heavy fighting of the early part
of the 31st was all in Bragg's favor up to the time his advance
was checked by our centre and the new line on the right. From that
time to the occupation of Murfreesboro every movement resulted in
favor of the army under Rosecrans, and the retreat of Bragg after
the defeat of Breckinridge gave the halo of victory to our army
as the result of the campaign. In his retreat Bragg admitted that
he had gained nothing but a victory barren of results, at the cost
of him of 10,125 killed, wounded, and missing, 9,000 of whom were
killed and wounded, over twenty per cent of his command. Bragg's
field return of December 10, 1862, shows an effective total of 51,036,
composed of 39,304 infantry, 10,070 cavalry, and 1,662 artillery.
By reason of Morgan and Forrest being absent on their raids, Bragg's
cavalry was reduced to 5,638. This gave an effective force of
46,604, which was the strength of the army with which Bragg fought
the battle.

Rosecrans's force on the battle-field was: Infantry, 37,977;
artillery, 2,223; cavalry, 3,200; total, 43,400. His loss was:
killed, 1,553; wounded, 7,245. The enemy captured about 2,800 men.
Making his total loss about twenty-five per cent. of his force in
action. Rosecrans lost twenty-eight pieces of artillery and a large
portion of his wagon train. Bragg lost three pieces of artillery.

Why did Rosecrans's plan of battle miscarry so fatally and Bragg's
come so near absolute success? The fault was not the plan as
conceived by the former. The near success of the latter proved a
vindication of that. The originator of the plan was not at fault
personally, for at no time during the battle did he falter or prove
unequal to his command. When called on to give up his plan of the
offensive and assume the defensive to save his army, the wonderful
power of Rosecrans as a general over troops was never displayed
to a greater advantage. With the blood from a slight wound on his
cheek, in a light blue army overcoat, through the mud and rain of
the battle-field, he rode along the line inspiring his troops with
the confidence he felt as to the final result. To Rosecrans there
was but one outcome to the battle at Stone's River, and that was
victory. When some of his general officers advised retreat to
Nashville, not for an instant did he falter in his determination to
"fight or die right here." The demoralization of one of his division
commanders was so great, that on Thursday afternoon, when the
rebels were massing on Rosecrans's right, this general, commanding
a division, announced to his brigade commanders that in the event
of the anticipated assault resulting disastrously, he proposed to
take his division and cut his way through to Nashville. To his
troops--the greater part of whom had never seen Rosecrans under
the enemy's fire--when on the return from the cedars, they formed
anew in front of the Nashville pike--seeing the Commanding General
of the army riding fearlessly on the extreme front, in the heat
of battle, cool and collected, giving orders and encouraging his
men--his mere presence was an inspiration. His personal bravery
was never more fully shown than when he rode down to the "Round
Forest" with his staff, under fire, at the time Garesché was killed
by a shell that only missed the chief by a few inches. In this
ride Rosecrans had three mounted orderlies shot dead while following
him. When the entire extent of McCook's disaster in its crushing
force was revealed to him, he felt the full burden of his responsibility,
and rising to the demands of the hour he was superb. Dashing from
one point to another, quick to discern danger and ready to meet
it, shrinking from no personal exposure, dispatching his staff on
the gallop, hurrying troops into position, massing the artillery
and forming his new lines on grounds of his own choosing, confident
of ultimate success, and showing his troops that he had all confidence
in them, it was worth months of ordinary life-time to have been
with Rosecrans when by his own unconquered spirit he plucked victory
from defeat and glory from disaster.

But if the plan was not at fault, what was? Rosecrans started from
Nashville for an offensive campaign, and before his plan of battle
had met the test, he was compelled to abandon it, and assume the
defensive. Where was the fault and who was to blame? The fault
was McCook's defective line, and in part Rosecrans was responsible
for it. He ought never to have trusted the formation of a line
of battle so important to the safety of his whole army to McCook
alone, and he certainly knew this. Rosecrans gave his personal
attention to the left, but he should at least have ordered the
change his quick eye had detected as necessary in McCook's line,
and not trusted to chance and McCook's ability to withstand the
attack with his faulty line. No one who saw him at Stone's River
the 31st of December will say aught against the personal bravery
and courage of McCook under fire. All that he could do to aid in
repairing the great disaster of that day he did to the best of his
ability. He stayed with Davis's division under fire as long as
it held together, and then gave personal directions to Sheridan's
troops, in the gallant fight they made against overwhelming odds.
As Rosecrans himself says in his official report of McCook, "a
tried, faithful, and loyal soldier, who bravely breasted the battle
at Shiloh and Perryville, and as bravely on the bloody field of
Stone's River." But there is something more than mere physical
bravery required in a general officer in command of as large a
body of troops as a corps d'armee. As an instructor at West Point,
McCook maintained a high rank. As a brigade and division commander
under Buell, there was none his superior in the care and attention
he gave his troops on the march, in camp, or on the drill-ground.
His division at Shiloh as it marched to the front on the second
day did him full credit, and in his handling of it on that field he
did credit to it and to himself. What McCook lacked was the ability
to handle large bodies of troops independently of a superior officer to
give him commands. This was his experience at Perryville, and it
was repeated at Stone's River. With the known results of Perryville,
McCook ought never to have been placed in command of the "right
wing." Rosecrans at Stone's River, of necessity was on the left,
and being there he should have had a general in command of the right
with greater military capacity than McCook. Rosecrans's confidence
was so slight in his commander of the left that he felt his own
presence was needed there in the movement of the troops in that
part of the plan of battle.

Rosecrans in his report repeatedly speaks of "the faulty line of
McCook's formation on the right." But he knew this on the 30th,
and told McCook that it was improperly placed. McCook did not
think so. Rosecrans told him that it faced too much to the east
and not enough to the south, that it was too weak and long, and
was liable to be flanked. Knowing all this and knowing McCook's
pride of opinion, for McCook told him he "did not see how he could
make a better line," or a "better disposition of my troops," it
was the plain duty of Rosecrans to reform the line, to conform to
what it should be in his judgment. The order to McCook to build
camp fires for a mile beyond his right was another factor that
brought about the combination that broke the line on the right.
Rosecrans was correct in his conception of this, in order to mislead
Bragg and cause him to strengthen his left at the expense of his
right. Had Bragg awaited Rosecrans's attack, this building of fires
was correct--if it took troops away from the right to reinforce the
left; but this it did not do. Bragg moved McCown and Cleburne's
divisions from his right to his left on Tuesday, but after this
Bragg brought none of his forces across the river until Wednesday
afternoon. The building of the fires caused Bragg to prolong his
lines, lengthening them to the extent that before Hardee struck
Kirk's and Willich's brigades, he thought our line extended a
division front to their right. Finding this not to be the case,
he whirled his left with all the force of double numbers on to the
right of McCook. The rebels then swinging around found themselves
in the rear of Johnson's division before they struck any troops
on their front. Of course it is mere guess-work to say just what
the outcome might have been of any other formation of the line,
but it is safe to say that had the left instead of the centre of
Hardee struck the right of McCook, there would have been a better
chance for the troops on the extreme right of his line to have shown
the spirit that was in them, before they were overpowered by mere
superiority of numbers.

Then there were some minor mistakes that aided in a great degree the
bringing about of that mishap which imperiled the safety of the
entire army. Even granting that Johnson was not in any way responsible
for the position occupied by his troops on the front line of
battle, still it is hard to find any excuse or even explanation for
a general officer in command of a division who, knowing the enemy
were in force on his front, and intending to attack his command
at daylight the next morning, would place his headquarters a mile
and a half in the rear. This too, when he knew that the post of
honor and responsibility for the safety of the entire army had been
committed to his keeping. What then shall be said for him when
it appears by the report of the commanding officer of his reserve
brigade that when it returned from the support of a cavalry
reconnoissance, the general commanding the division ordered this
brigade, on the eve of the battle, to take position in the woods,
"near the headquarters of the division," instead of in supporting
distance of the front line? He could not have thought that the
division headquarters needed the support of the reserve more than
the line of battle. It is safe to say that had the line of Johnson's
division been properly formed, so as to give the most strength to
the command--short and well centered, with a good brigade like that
of Baldwin's in reserve, with all officers in their places--these
troops would have given a very different account of themselves when
the blow struck the right. There was no commanding officer in the
front with Johnson's division, of greater command than a regiment--save
General Kirk. The troops of Willich's brigade on the right flank
refused to come to his assistance, because there was no one there
to give them orders. Johnson says in his official report that "In
consultation with Major-General McCook, late in the afternoon of
December 30th, he informed me that he had reliable information to


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