fire pointing out to him the position of the brigade, and what he was required to do.
The ammunition of the regiments now entirely failing, and a perfect rout appearing to have taken place, the brigade fell back to the ground occupied by them on the morning of Tuesday. At this time the whole wing was in the utmost confusion, and I used every endeavor to rally and organize them, but without avail. There seemed to be no fear, no panic, but a stolid indifference, which was unaccountable. Officers and men passed to the rear; no words or exhortation could prevent them. In three different positions I used every exertion to reform our lines, but it became impossible. Reaching the Murfreesborough pike a stampede or panic commenced in the wagons-train, but, succeeding in getting a regiment across the road, it was stopped, and, by a vigorous charge of cavalry, saved the enemy.
We were then placed in reserve to our division along the Murfreesborough borough pike, and there waited in anxious expectation to make or repel attacks until the afternoon of Friday, when we were ordered to move in double-quick to the extreme left, to support the divisions which was being driven in by the enemy, and, although fatigued and worn out by exposure to the rain, without tents or blankets, for seven days, and want of sleep (two days of which time we had nothing to eat but parched corn), the command, with yells of joy, rushed forward, and, after fording the river three times, pushed the enemy back with the greatest rapidity, the ground being covered with rebel dead and wounded. We went into position about 2 miles from the ford, and on the extreme left. During the night we threw up an abatis of rails, and laid on our arms, without fires, in a drenching rain.
The next morning (Saturday, January 3) we expected an attack, but none occurred during the day. That night we changed position to the right again, nothing but picket skirmishing having occurred during the day. When the morning of Saturday passed without an attack, I became satisfied in my own mind that the enemy were evacuating Murfreesborough, and so expressed it.
I cannot speak in too high terms of the gallant conduct of the officers and men under my command. If indomitable daring, cool courage, and invincible bravery in the midst of the turmoil of such a battle, when all space seemed occupied by some deadly missile, amid carnage and noise, be any proof of heroism, they certainly possess it. Many instances of personal daring and feats of individual prowess were visibly performed, but I must refer you to the reports of subordinate commanders for names and instances.
To the officers and men of the Twenty-fifth and Thirty-fifth Illinois Regiments and Eighth Wisconsin Battery I owe especial thanks for the determined bravery and chivalric heroism they evinced throughout; and also to the officers and men of the
Eighty-first Indiana, a new regiment, the first time under fire, who, with but a few exceptions, manfully fronted the storm of battle, and gave earnest proof of what may hereafter be expected of them.
I desire to call the attention of the commanding officer to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler, commanding the Thirty-fifth Illinois, whose cool, steady courage, admirable deportment, and skillful management evinced the soldier, true and tried, and who at all times proved himself worthy of the trust he holds. Major McIlwain, of the same regiment, I cannot praise too much; his good management and skillful handling of the skirmishers, of which he was in charge, elicited encomiums