No. 13. Report of Capt. Robert Clements, commanding Third Battalion.
HDQRS. CENTER BATTALION, PIONEER BRIGADE, Near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 5, 1863.
SIR: On the morning of December 30, 1862, my battalion was ordered by Capt. J. St. C. Morton to report to General Rosecrans. By 4 a.m. I reported my command to the front ready for duty, when I received orders from the commanding general to report of General Thomas, who ordered me to cut and clear several roads through the thick woods on the right of the pike and in front. We worked all day under the fire of the enemy's guns, and by 5 p.m. cleared several roads for the passage of artillery and infantry. At 6 p.m. I was relieved, and reported my battalion in camp some three-fourths of a mile to the rear, on the left of the Murfreesborough and Nashville pike.
December 31, 1862, Company F, under charge of Acting
Lieutenant-Colonel Lingeman, reported to General Negley to finish the previous day's work. Acting Major Stewart, with Companies A, D, I and E, was ordered to the front of General Crittenden's corps, to cut the east bank, a portion of it on Stone's River, passable for troops. Reaching the river, they found it in possession of the rebels. Leaving a reserve of two companies on this side, in charge of Capt. A. K. Robinson, Major Stewart crossed with the balance of his men, and drove the enemy from the ground, and commenced work. At 8 a.m. heavy firing was heard on our right and in front of General Negley's division. Immediately the left wing of our battalion was ordered of form line, and soon we were on the march toward the direction of the firing, the was becoming more terrific as we advanced. In the mean time Major Stewart was relieved by a portion of the Eleventh Brigade, General Van Cleve's division, and, with the exception of Company F, our battalion moved forward under a fire from the enemy's cannon, and supported Captain Stokes' Chicago battery, that opened, from the top of a slight elevation on the left of the pike, a terrific shower of grape into the enemy's ranks, who were at that moment driving our front line from the woods, on the right of the road, by heavy volleys of musketry. Soon the enemy were forced back, our troops advancing with the battery into an open field some 300 yards.
By this the rebels had renewed their fire, and were driving our advanced line, that had moved forward into a thick wood,
panic-stricken, back upon my men, who were ordered by Captain Morton to fix bayonets and charge upon the first man attempting to pass the line. The order was promptly enforced, and soon hundreds of confused stragglers were formed into line on our right, and, with the shower of shell and grape from our battery, succeeded in driving the enemy from the field. During the day my battalion was kept on the front, and at night threw forward Company H, as advanced pickets and skirmishers, some 400 yards.
The night being very cold, and no fires allowed,the men suffered much from the want of blankets, as well as from the battery scarcity of rations, many of them having had nothing to eat since the previous night.
At 6 a.m., January 1, I was ordered to change my line and support our battery, expecting an attack from the southeast, as it could be seen the enemy were advancing from the wood in that direction. My line