General Stanley. He reported as follows:
I was up to the enemy's line of battle twice yesterday and one this morning, to get some stock, taken from me. The enemy's troops are posted in the following manner: The right of Cheatham's division rests on the Wilkinson pike; Withers is on Cheatham's left, with his left resting on the Franklin road; Hardee's corps is entirely beyond that road, and his left extending toward the Salem pike.
This man was sent immediately to the general commanding, and subsequently returned to me, with the report that his information had been received. I also sent a report to the general commanding by my aide-de-camp, Capt. Horace N. Fisher, that the right of my lines rested directly in front of the enemy's center. This made me anxious for my right. All my division commanders were immediately informed of this fact, and two brigades of the reserve division, commanded, respectively, by Generals Willich and Kirk, two of the best and most experienced brigadiers in the army, were ordered to the right of my line, to protect the right flank and guard against surprise there.
At 6 p.m. I received an order from the general commanding to have large and extended camp-fires made on my right, to deceive the enemy, making them believe that we were massing troops there. This order was communicated to General Stanley, commanding cavalry, and carried into execution by MajorR. H. Nodine, Twenty-fifth Illinois, engineer officer of my staff.
On the evening of the 30th, the order of battle was nearly parallel with that of the enemy,my right slightly refused, and my line of battle in two lines. Two brigades of the reserve re-enforced the right of the line, and the Third Brigade, of the reserve, was posted in column about 800 yards in rear of the right.
On the evening of the 30th, Sheridan's left rested on the Wilkinson road, on the right of Negley's division, and the line then ran in a southeasterly direction through an open wood; thence in front of and partly through a cedar thicket,until General Davis' right rested near the Franklin road. Kirk's brigade was on Davis's right, Willich's brigade placed on a line nearly perpendicular to the main line, forming a crotchet to the rear, to avoid the possibility of my right being turned by anything like and equal force. My line was a strong one, open ground in front for a short distance.
My instructions for the following day were received at about 6.30 p.m. on the 30th, which were as follows:
Take a strong position; if the enemy attacks, fall back slowly, refusing your right, contesting the ground inch by inch. If the enemy does not attack you, you will attack him, not vigorously, but warmly; the time of attack by you (General McCook) to be designated by the general commanding.
I was also informed that Crittenden's corps would move simultaneously with my attack into Murfreesborough. Written instructions were sent by me to each division commander on the night of the 30th, explaining to each what would be required of them on the 31st.
At about 6.30 a.m., on the 31st, a determined and heavy attack was made upon Kirk's and Willich's brigades, on the extreme right. They were attacked by such an overwhelming force that they were compelled to fall back. General Kirk being seriously wounded at the first fire upon his main line, General Willich having his horse killed early in the action, and he falling into the hands of the enemy, the two brigades were deprived of their immediate commanders,and gave way in confusion. Colonel Post's brigade, on the right of Davis' division, and, in fact, my entire line to Sheridan's left, was almost simultaneously