War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0196 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

[CHAP. XXXII.

until 10 o'clock. It was, therefore, deemed unadvisable to advance; but batteries were put in position on the left, by which the ground could be swept, and even Murfreesborough reached by Parrott shells.

A heavy and constant picket firing had been kept up on our right and center, and extending to our left, which at last became so annoying that in the afternoon I directed the corps commanders to clear their fronts.

Occupying the wood to the left of Murfreesborough pike with sharpshooters, the enemy had annoyed Rousseau all day, and General Thomas and himself requested permission to dislodge them and their supports, which covered a ford. This was granted, and a sharp fire from four batteries was opened for ten or fifteen minutes, when Rousseau sent two of his regiments, which, with Spears' Tennesseeans and the Eighty-fifth Illinois Volunteers, that had, come out with the wagon-train, charged upon the enemy, and, after a sharp contest, cleared the woods and drove the enemy from his trenches, capturing from 70 to 80 prisoners.

Sunday morning, January 4, it was not deemed advisable to commence offensive movements, and news soon reached us that the enemy had fled from Murfreesborough. Burial parties were sent out to bury the dead, and the cavalry was sent to reconnoiter.

Early Monday morning General Thomas advanced, driving the rear guard of rebel cavalry before him 6 or 7 miles toward Manchester. McCook's and Crittenden's corps following, took position in front of the town, occupying Murfreesborough.

We learned that the enemy's infantry had reached Shelbyville by 12 m. on Sunday, but, owing to the impracticability of bringing up supplies, and the loss of 557 artillery horses, farther pursuit was deemed unadvisable.

It may be of use to give the following general summary of the operations and results of the series of skirmishes closing with the battle of Stone's River and occupation of Murfreesborough:

We moved on the enemy with the following force: Infantry, 41,421; artillery, 2,223; cavalry 3,296. Total, 46,940.

We fought the battle with the following forces: Infantry, 37,977; artillery, 2,223, cavalry, 3,200. Total, 43,400.

We lost in killed: Officers, 92; enlisted men, 1,441; total, 1,533. Wounded: Officers, 384; enlisted men, 6,861; total, 7,245. Total killed and wounded, 8,778, being 20.03 per cent. of the entire force in action.*

Our loss in prisoners is not fully made out, but the provost-marshal-general says, from present information, they will fall short of 2,800.

If there are many more bloody battles on record, considering the newness and inexperience of the troops, both officers and men, or if there has been more true fighting qualities displayed by any people, I should be pleased to know it.

As to the condition of the fight, we may say that we operated over an unknown country, against a position which was 15 per cent. better than our own, every foot of ground and approaches being well known to the enemy, and that these disadvantages were fatally enhanced by the faulty position of our right wing.

The force we fought is estimated as follows:

We have prisoners from one hundred and thirty-two regiments of infantry (consolidations counted as one), averaging from those in General

---------------

*But see revised statement, p. 207.

---------------