Today in History:

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


south and east bank. One mile farther down the river is another for, as I have since learned. This topography, as well as the enemy's strength, was wholly unknown to us.

The two lines of the division having been formed, the signal for attack was sounded at 4 p.m., when this brigade in line moved steadily forward to the attack, with arms loaded and bayonets fixed, instructed to fire once and then charge with the bayonet. The peculiar nature of the ground and direction of the river and the eagerness of the troops caused the lines of General Pillow's [formerly Palmer's] brigade and this brigade to lap on the crest of the hill, but the fury of the charge and the effective fire of the lines put the enemy at once to flight. All in front of us that were not killed or captured ran across the river at the ford and out of range of our fire, as did a battery which had been posted off to our right, and many of the infantry mentioned before as being on the right likewise fled across this ford. A part, however, of this force, double-quicking toward the ford from their position, finding they would be cut off, formed in line to our right on a ridge, and, not being assailed, held this ground. Meanwhile, and from the moment of beginning the attack, the enemy's artillery from the opposite side of the river directed on us a most destructive fire. Very soon, too, the crests of the opposite side of the river swarmed with infantry, whose fire was terrible. Thus exposed to the fire, seemingly, of all his artillery and a large portion of his infantry from unassailable positions, as well as to the flanking fire from the right, it was deemed prudent to withdraw. This was done slowly, though not in the best order, resulting mainly from the confusion consequent upon the too early advance of the second lines were reformed about 600 yards in rear of the river, and near the line from which we advanced to the attack.

While thus engaged in reforming my own regiment, I received intelligence of the fall of General Hanson, when I took command of the brigade, the other regiments of which had likewise been reformed. This brigade in the battle having advanced to within 80 yards of the ford, a part of Colonel Lewis Sixth Kentucky and a part of the Second Kentucky having crossed the river a little to the left, when near the ford, slightly protected by a picket fence on this side, they fought the enemy across the river until the rear having fallen back made it necessary to withdraw them also.

I obtained returns on the field showing still in line more than half the men with which we started out, notwithstanding a loss of 33 per cent. I remained in line until 9 o'clock, having replenished the cartridge-boxes, when I received orders to return to my original position on the hill, which was obeyed.

We remained in this position until Sunday morning at 1 a.m., when, having been assigned the duty of bringing up the rear, we moved off, with Colonel Hunt's Ninth Kentucky, Forty-first Alabama, Lieutenant-Colonel Stansel, and Cobb's battery being detailed as special rear guard. My pickets were withdrawn at 3 a.m. by Captain [C.] Bosche, of Ninth Kentucky, under direction of Captain Martin, of General Breckinridge's staff.

I have thus briefly given you a report of the part taken by this brigade, omitting many details and incidents creditable to individuals and to the command.

In the absence of a report from my own regiment [Fourth Kentucky] prior to the time when I took command of the brigade, I will state simply that both officers and men did their duty. Willis [S.] Roberts, major,