On the 30th, the battle having commenced, the regiment moved up to the road and performed picket duty on the right flank of the extreme right of the army corps.
On the morning of the 31st, firing having been heard on our left, Lieut. S. Green, of the staff of General A. Willich, ordered me to draw in the pickets and move up to the brigade. Before I was able to assemble seven companies of my command and form them in line, facing toward the center, I observed the enemy's columns advancing and firing. At the same time a great portion of our battery, guns, caissons, and battery teams, together with a dense mass of infantry, in disorder, came rushing toward us, and, breaking through the regiment, forced our men to give way and fall back. The confusion and panic having then become general, I was unable to reassemble the regiment until we had retreated along the creek for nearly three-quarters of a mile, when we succeeded in rallying about 200 of our men.
I would respectfully state that Lieutenant Belding, of Captain Goodspeed's battery, retreated with me with one gun, and, by firing several times on the enemy, checked their flanking columns. We then moved toward the center of the engagement, firing on the enemy's cavalry at different times, and met at a rise of the ground the rest of the division, where Colonel Wallace, of the Fifteenth Ohio, directed me to fall in line with his regiment. The enemy advancing at that time, we fought there for more than an hour, and, being relieved by fresh troops, fell back and joined the brigade.
In the afternoon of January 1 we moved to a strip of wood on the right of the first hospital on the Nashville road, and remained there during the night, picketing.
On the 2nd we moved with the brigade as reserve to the center of the right wing.
Toward 5 o'clock the brigade was ordered to charge on the enemy on the left of our center. While the regiment advanced in line of battle toward Stone's River, General Palmer rode up and ordered me to move the regiment by the right flank into a strip of wood on our right, occupied by the enemy.
On approaching said wood I received their fire and threw out my skirmishers to cover my advance. We then charged and drove them back to the edge of the hill, where the heavy firing commenced, the enemy contesting every inch of ground. My skirmishers, advancing on the right and left, unexpectedly found themselves within 15 yards of the enemy, lying below the crest of the hill.
At that time a regiment came up to our support on the right. They fired one volley and fell back in disorder. A second regiment [Thirty-first Indiana] came up in fine style, and at the right moment assisted us in driving the enemy from his position, causing him to retreat precipitately and in great disorder across Stone's River. It having grown night for nearly two hours, it was impossible to gain more advantages or better results of the fight, keeping our position until relieved by General Palmer's pickets, after which we returned to camp.
The casualties of December 31 amount to 2 killed, 13 wounded, and 115 missing; of January 2,10 killed, 27 wounded, and none missing.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers
Col. W. H. GIBSON,
Commanding First Brigade.