Today in History:

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


No. 242. Report of Col. Robert P. Trabue, Fourth Kentucky Infantry, commanding Fourth Brigade.

HEADQUARTERS TRABUE'S [LATE HANSON'S] BRIGADE, Tullahoma, Tenn., January 13, 1863.

SIR: The untimely fall of the gallant and lamented Hanson, brigadier-general commanding this brigade, in the engagement on Friday, the 2nd instant, at Murfreesborough, imposes on me the duty of reporting, to the extent of my knowledge, the operations of the brigade prior to and after his fall in the battle before that place.

On Sunday, the brigade having received orders to that effect, marched from their camp in rear of Murfreesborough, at 8 a.m., to the position in the front line of battle indicated for our occupation. This brigade formed the left of General Breckinridge's division, and in line rested with its left on or near Stone's River, extending eastward until the right was united to Colonel Palmer's brigade. The position first taken up [the exact line not having been pointed out] was along the skirt of woods in rear of the open fields east and south of Stone's River, which afforded, by the existence of a small ridge running parallel with the front, and a consequent depression immediately in rear, very good protection against the enemy's long-range artillery.

On Monday, Semple's battery of six Napoleon guns, furnished by the chief of artillery, was placed on the crest immediately in front of the right wing, and Cobb's battery was held to be placed later. Thus forme in line, the Fourth Kentucky was on the right; Second Kentucky second, Major [James W.] Hewitt; Forty-first Alabama third, Colonel [H.] Talbird; Sixth Kentucky fourth, Colonel [Joseph H.] Lewis, and Ninth Kentucky on the left, Colonel [T. H.] Hunt.

On Monday evening it was perceived that the enemy meant to occupy immediately all the advantageous positions in our front, of which he could possess himself, for artillery. A prominent elevation existed 1,000 yards in front of our left, which General Breckinridge desired we should hold, notwithstanding it was liable to assault, being isolated 1,000 yards in front of our lines. To this end, Colonel Hunt, with the Ninth Kentucky, Colonel Lewis, Sixth Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel [M. L.] Stansel, Forty-first Alabama, and Cobb's battery, were ordered to occupy it. Throwing out skirmishers, they were soon engaged with those of the enemy. The force above named was then moved up to the front in support of the skirmishers, and succeeded in establishing Cobb's battery on the eminence. This was not accomplished without the loss of two valuable officers-Lieutenants [A. J.] Beale and [O.] Kennard, of Company D, Ninth Kentucky, the former severely and the latter slightly wounded. By this time it was dark, when the enemy endeavored in a spirited effort to retake the position, rapidly driving in our skirmishers, and approaching to within a few yards of the battery. This attempt was frustrated by promptly advancing the Forty-first Alabama, under Lieutenant-Colonel Stansel, when the enemy were driven off in confusion, leaving two of their dead near the battery. Our loss here amounted to not less than 10 wounded, falling mainly on the Sixth Kentucky and Cobb's battery, among whom was Lieutenant [J. B.] Holman, Sixth Kentucky.

On Tuesday night these regiments were withdrawn, and I, with the Second and Fourth Kentucky and Cobb's battery, occupied this position. It was deemed of the last importance to hold this hill, and