line advancing, driving the enemy through Triune, and halting about 1 mile south of that place near dark. The distance skirmished over that day was nearly 5 miles. Although exposed to the enemy's fire from their artillery and musketry nearly all day, we had no one killed, wounded, or missing. We went into camp that night a short distance to the rear of where we had advanced with our skirmish line, and remained in camp at that place the next day [being Sunday] without performing any duties only those required on that day.
On the morning of December 29, 1862, we were ordered back toward Nashville 2 1/2 miles, and turned off the pike on a dirt road to the right, leading in the direction of Murfreesborough, and, after marching 6 miles, went into camp between 10 and 11 o'clock that night. The Thirty-fourth Illinois was rear guard for the brigade teams that day.
On the morning of the 30th, about 10 a.m., we moved forward in the direction of Murfreesborough 3 miles, when we were ordered to the right. The Thirty-fourth Illinois was ordered to support Captain Edgarton's battery, which was moved to the extreme right of our lines, and opened fire on a rebel battery that was firing into the right flank of Davis' division. General Kirk ordered two companies of this regiment to be thrown out as skirmishers [A and B], under the command of Captain Van Tassel, extending the line across an open field to a piece of woods, about 100 rods farther to the right than our troops occupied. Captain Edgarton's battery soon silenced the rebel battery, and it was now near dark.
Colonel Bristol, being unwell, was compelled to leave the regiment, and the command then fell upon myself. I received orders that I was to picket immediately in my front, and that General Willich would join his pickets on the right. This was done shortly after dark. I was then ordered to encamp the remainder of my regiment in the rear of the left of my picket line, and within 30 rods of the same. Everything was quiet through the night.
Just before daylight I had my regiment under arms, and moved it forward some 4 rods in advance of where I was encamped, so that I could more conveniently deploy into line, as I had my regiment in double column. A few minutes after daylight one of where I was encamped, so that I could more conveniently deploy into line, as I had my regiment in double column. A few minutes after daylight one of my lookouts reported to me that the enemy was moving down on us with an overwhelming force. I immediately sent word to General Kirk, and rode immediately myself to find General Willich, who was encamped in my rear not more than 30 rods. I failed to find the general; they told me he had gone to see General Johnson. I informed some of the officers of his brigade that the enemy was advancing. I hurried back to my regiment, and I then received an order to advance my regiment and try to hold the enemy in check, which was done.
After advancing out in the open field about 15 rods, the enemy opened upon us, my men returning the fire. They were now exposed to the fire of nearly five times their number, as I only had 354 men, including the officers. Ten or twelve of my men were killed, and some 60 odd wounded, before I received an order to fall back in support of the battery. I gave the order for them to fall back. Not one of my men or officers left their post before I gave them the order. When we returned to the battery everything was confusion; the First Brigade was not in position; were engaged, many of them, cooking their breakfast. I endeavored to hold the battery with what few men I had, but it was of no use; the enemy were fast surrounding us, and the only alternative was to retreat or be taken prisoners. I gave the order for them to retreat, and would, I think, have been able to keep them together, but