Today in History:

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

Page 798 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.


report to Major-General Breckinridge, our division commander, on the right of Stone's River. I was placed in position by yourself about 150 yards in the rear of Brigadier-General Hanson's brigade as a supporting line in the charge to be made. In obedience to orders from General Breckinridge, I posted a reserve, consisting of the Thirty-second Alabama, Colonel McKinstry, and a battalion of Louisiana sharpshooters (Major Austin), under the command of Colonel McKinstry in the position occupied by the second line when formed originally. These dispositions had hardly been effected when the general advance began, and I immediately moved forward my line, consisting of the Thirteenth Louisiana (consolidated) Regiment, Major Guillet, and the Sixteenth Louisiana (consolidated) Regiment, Major Zacharie.

The interval between the first and second lines was very well preserved until the first became generally engaged with the enemy, when I at once halted the second line and ordered the officers and men to lie down, so as to cover them from the enemy's batteries, whose fire we were drawing. We drove in his skirmishers from the opposite side of the river. I then rode forward to the first line, to consult with General Hanson as to the particular moment when the second line should come to his support. I had scarcely reached him when he was struck, and, I observed, so seriously wounded as to disable him from conferring with me. I determined not to engage the second line until the first gave way. General Hanson had hardly fallen, however, when his line began to show symptoms of yielding, and after a few moments many of his men were falling to the rear. I saw that they needed support, and, going back to the second line, instantly ordered the right regiment (Thirteenth Louisiana Volunteers, Major Guillet) to move by the right flank, in order to avoid the river, toward which we were marching, and then to advance in line of battle toward the woods, and, having my horse disabled by a wound in riding back, I dispatched Captain Lipscomb to give the same order to Major Zacharie, commanding Sixteenth Louisiana Volunteers, already under the bank. I moved rapidly forward the right regiment, and soon engaged the enemy under heavy fire. I presumed that the Sixteenth was moving under the river bank on our left, as had been the permanent arrangement, and in accordance with the special order sent by Captain Lipscomb. The woods were full of troops, apparently in great confusion. Many of these formed on our line, and we advanced, driving the enemy before us beyond a ravine, on the farther side of which was a picket fence. This ravine was filled with men broken from their commands, who were sheltered from the enemy, but such was their confusion that they could accomplish nothing against him. I formed the fighting line on the near side of the ravine, on the lower side of the crest, and, by a well-directed volley poured into the advancing line of the enemy, broke and dispersed it. When this first compact line gave way, there was a momentary lull, a suspension of fire, and we prepared to charge, but, as if in the twinkle of an eye, another line of the enemy, extending far beyond our right, assumed the lost position. This was dispersed. Presently a number of skirmishers appeared on our right, and we were fired upon from the left, on the opposite side of the river. The men in the ravine broke to the rear under these fires, that were aimed chiefly at them, and from which they appeared to suffer. There was perpetual skirmishing from the moment we entered the woods. Again another line came on our front, which engaged us. I observed that our own right had given way, going through the open field on the right of us to the rear. I moved to our extreme left and saw the enemy were in heavy lines on the opposite bank, and already beginning to cross. I saw at once that we would be enveloped on the right and left.

Page 798 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.