During the long contest, and notwithstanding the extreme inclemency of the weather and the scarcity of provisions, no word of complaint was heard. Officers and men seemed alike anxious to do their full duty as patriot soldiers. In our advance they pushed forward baldly, and when greatly superior number were hurled against them they awaited the onset with the utmost coolness and determination. The temporary confusion which occurred when they fell back was caused, to a considerable extent, by the large force of skirmishers thrown out to check the enemy, having been driven toward the left, instead of directly upon their own regiments. The deliberation and order with which the Seventy-fourth Illinois retired is especially commended.
During the series of engagements the several regimental commanders displayed great persistence and resolution, and everywhere encouraged their men.
Too much praise cannot be awarded tot he dauntless and skillful Captain Pinney, whose characteristic conduct elicited compliment even from his foes.
I herewith transmit the reports of the regimental and battery commanders, together with a full list of casualties.
The gallant bearing of Captain Hale, of the Seventy-fifth Illinois, who had chief command of the skirmishers; of Captain Litson, of the Twenty-second Indiana, and of Sergt. P. S. Ferguson, of Company G, Fifty-ninth Illinois, one of the skirmishers, is deserving of mention. Assistant Surgeon Corbus, of the Seventy-fifth Illinois, and Assistant Surgeon Bunce, of the Fifty-ninth Illinois, remained with and took care of our wounded while the fight was raging around them.
The zeal and decision shown by Lieutenants Jones, Hall, Hatch, and Baker, members of my staff, and the intrepidity of my faithful orderly, George Fogle, demand my highest commendation.
The names of the self-constituted messengers, who carried to Nashville, with such unparalleled celerity, the tidings, of the battle of December 31, have already been forwarded. In the hour of trial, showing themselves false as the news they manufactured and disseminated, their infamy only makes more bright by contrast the imperishable record of those who nobly struggled or bravely fell in the unequal contest.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. SIDNEY POST,
Colonel, Commanding First Brigade.
Lieut. T. W. MORRISON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division.
No. 21. Report of Capt. Hendrick E. Paine, Fifty-ninth Illinois Infantry.
HDQRS. FIFTY-NINTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS, In Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 10, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with an order from brigade headquarters, I respectfully submit the following report:
The regiment which I have the honor to command broke up camp, 7 miles south of Nashville, on the morning of the 26th of December, the men carrying three days' rations in their haversacks, all of our transportation and camp equipage been ordered within the fortifications at Nashville.