Today in History:

782 Series I Volume XX-I Serial 29 - Murfreesborough Part I

Page 782 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA.,AND SW. VA.


Brigadier-General Jackson, having reported to me with his command, was placed, by the direction of the lieutenant-general commanding, upon the east side of the Lebanon road, on commanding ground, a little in advance of the right of Brigadier-General Adams.

My division formed the front line of the right wing of the army; Major-General Cleburne's division, drawn up some 600 yards in rear, formed the second line of the same wing, while the division of Major-General McCown, under the immediate direction of the general commanding, composed the reserve.

My line extended from left to right along the edge of a forest, save an open space of 400 yards, which was occupied by Wright's battery, of Preston's brigade, with the Twentieth Tennessee in reserve to support it. An open field 800 yards in width extended along nearly the whole front of the line, and was bounded on the opposite side by a line of forest similar to that occupied by us. In the opinion of the lieutenant-general commanding (who had twice ridden carefully over the ground with me) and the general commanding (who had personally inspected the lines), it was the strongest position the nature of the ground would allow.

About 600 yards in front of Hanson's center was an eminence which it was deemed important to hold. It commanded the ground sloping toward the river in its front and on its left, and also the plain on the west bank occupied by the right of Withers' line. Colonel T. H. Hunt, with the Forty-first Alabama, the Sixth and Ninth Kentucky and Cobb's battery, all of Hanson's brigade, was ordered to take and hold this hill, which he did, repulsing several brisk attacks of the enemy, and losing some excellent officers and men. A few hundred yards to the left and rear of this position a small earthwork, thrown up under the direction of Major R. E. Gravevs, my chief of artillery, was held during a part of the operations by Semple's battery of Napoleon guns.

In the afternoon of Tuesday, the 30th, I received intelligence from Lieutenant-General Hardee that the divisions of Cleburne and McCown were to be transferred to the extreme left, and soon after an order came to me from the general commanding to hold the hill at all hazards. I immediately moved the remainder of Hanson's brigade to the hill, and strengthened Cobb's battery with a section from [C. L.] Slocomb's Washington Artillery. At the same time Adams' brigade was moved from the right and formed on the ground originally occupied by Hanson's brigade. Jackson was moved to the west side of the Lebanon road, to connect with the general line of battle.

All the ground east of Stone's River was now to be held by one division, which, in a single line, did not extend from the ford to the Lebanon road. I did not change my general line, since a position in advance, besides being less favorable in other respects, would have widened considerably the interval between my right and the Lebanon road. The enemy did not again attack the hill with infantry, but our troops there continued to suffer during all the operations, from heavy shelling. Our artillery at that position often did good service in diverting the enemy's fire from our attacking lines of infantry, and especially on Wednesday, the 31st, succeeded in breaking several of their formations on the west bank of the river.

On the morning of Wednesday, the 31st, the battle opened on our left. From my front, information came to me from [John] Pegram's cavalry force in advance that the enemy, having crossed at the fords below, were moving on my position in line of battle. This proved to be incor-

Page 782 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA.,AND SW. VA.