Nolensville, the enemy appeared in our front. I was ordered by you to form a line of battle on the right of the pike, my left resting on the right of the Sixth Indiana, and deploy two companies as skirmishers, and to advance. I did so, deploying Company B, Lieutenant Dornbush commanding, and Company D, Lieutenant Hayward commanding. We had severe skirmishing all day, but drove the enemy before us, and encamped near Triune.
On the morning of December 30 we were ordered to join our division, which had preceded us the day before, within about 4 miles of Murfreesborough. We arrived about 4 o'clock, and, after making a reconnaissance on our right, we fell back and bivouacked for the night in a piece of woods in the rear of our division.
On the morning of the 31st, about 6.30 o'clock, I heard what I thought to be heavy skirmishing on our right. I immediately ordered my command under arms, and marched to and halted on the edge of the woods just to the right of where we bivouacked the night previous. A few moments after, by your orders, I moved forward at a double-quick across a large open field, and formed my line behind a rail fence, on a line with the Sixth Indiana [they occupying a piece of woods to my left], with two pieces of Simonson's battery between us, the Seventy-ninth Illinois and Thirtieth Indiana occupying a piece of woods to my left], with two pieces of Simonson's battery between us, the Seventy-ninth Illinois and Thirtieth Indiana occupying the right, the Seventy-ninth in reserve.
I ordered Lieutenant Hayward, Company D, to deploy the first platoon of his company as skirmishers. This had hardly been done when the enemy appeared in our front in three distinct lines of battle, followed by columns, closed in mass, several batteries of artillery, and a large amount of cavalry, the left of their lines extending not less than onefourth of a mile to the right of the Thirtieth Indiana. As soon as they arrived within about 150 yards of my line, I opened fire, which checked their advance for about fifteen minutes. Their line then in front of me seemed to separate, and I saw them marching by the flank to the right and left of us. Immediately after this maneuver, the two regiments on my right gave way, and left my flank entirely unprotected. The enemy's left then changed their front to the right and marched diagonally toward my right. At this moment the Sixth Indiana was forced from their position, the enemy immediately taking possession of the fence they occupied. They then again appeared in my front and opened an enfilading fire on my regiment.
Finding it was impossible to hold my position without being annihilated, I ordered my regiment to fall back, intending to take a position in the rear of the Louisville Legion, which was at that time supporting me. My regiment started back in good order, but coming in contact with the Louisville Legion [Colonel Berry having just ordered a change of front forward on first company, to protect our right], we became entangled with them, as we did also with the Ninety-third Ohio, which you had ordered to our support. I then fell back in some confusion to the woods occupied by me some half an hour previous.
Here I tried to form my line, but again became entangled with a part of the First Brigade. My regiment became scattered, and it was impossible to get them into line until we had fallen back through the woods into a cotton-field and into another piece of woods. Here, by your help and the united efforts of my officers, I succeeded in rallying part of my regiment, and took position on the left of Colonel Berry, who had also succeeded in rallying part of his regiment. Here the enemy was checked and driven back a short distance, but soon rallied and came down in a solid mass, and we were obliged again to retire.