War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0017 Chapter XXXII. RECONNAISSANCE TO LA VERGNE, AND SKIRMISH.

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Numbers 2.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Peter B. Housum, Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Infantry.


CAPTAIN: In reply to Special Orders, No.-, of this date, asking why the detachments sent out on the left of La Vergne did not move up rapidly and charge the rebel battery, as ordered, I give you a statement of the operations of the Twenty-ninth Indiana Regiment, Major Collins, and Seventy-seventh Regiment, both under my command, until the detachment under Colonel Dodge, Thirtieth Indiana, joined me.

After receiving orders to join the Seventy-seventh to the Twenty-ninth and assume command, I proceeded, as ordered, to take and hold the grove on the left of the Murfreesborough road, and keep the right a specified distance from the road. When in the grove, and in line of battle, the skirmishers thrown in advance from the Twenty-ninth Indiana Regiment became engaged in front and on the left. I at once ordered Company B, of Seventy-seventh, Captain Rose, forward on the left of the line already deployed, with orders to advance as rapidly as circumstances would permit. As soon as deployed, he became engaged with the enemy, when I ordered the whole line forward to the bed of the stream, and immediately crossed, when it became necessary to march the line by the left flank to get under cover of the woods, and also to cross a ravine which was in front. As soon as a sufficient distance had been taken to the left to cover the troops, I ordered an advance, with the injunction from Captain Wagner not to advance too rapidly on the woods, or too close on the line of skirmishers. After advancing some distance, I was ordered to again move by the left flank to what I thought would be a point opposite the battery, and advance on it. After marching by the flank what i supposed a sufficient distance, I again resumed the march by the front, advanced steadily, under a severe fire, when I observed the enemy moving to our left, and supposing the object might be to outflank us on our left, their line in front already exceeding our in length or front, I ordered a halt, and sent Lieutenant Walker, Of the staff, to the left, to notify the cavalry to keep a strict watch to prevent any attempt to flank us on the left, at the same time notifying Colonel Kirk that probably an attempt would be made to outflank us. Lieutenant Walker returning, I immediately ordered the men forward, when, from the maneuvering of the enemy in front, I ordered two additional companies forward on the line of skirmishers. At this moment Colonel Dodge joined me on the right,when he also threw one company forward on the line of skirmishers; thus re-enforced, and the skirmish line strengthened, I ordered a rapid advance, clearing the woods of the enemy. Colonel Dodge now came to me, and, as my superior officer, he assumed command and ordered me to change front forward on the left company. When the whole line was thrown forward in the new direction, he ordered an advance to the edge of the woods. At this point he ordered the Twenty-ninth Regiment forward, supported by the Seventy-seventh and Thirtieth, to charge the battery, while moving forward as rapidly as the ground would admit of, and obstructed, as it was, by a number of fences, which had to be torn down as they advanced, and also under a severe fire from the rebel battery on the hill in front. About the time the advance was tearing