difficult to detail, but may be made intelligible to any one conversant with the ground or taking any part in the action. The battle opened in the division by an attempt to capture Bush's battery. It was gallantly defended by General Sill until his brigade was completely turned. The brave general fell dead between the guns. The battery then fell back to the position occupied by the other batteries of the division. In the mean time Houghtaling's and the Missouri batteries were firing into the enemy's ranks and batteries that were engaging General Sill and General Davis, and continued to do fearful execution among them until the enemy, who were pursuing General Johnson's surprised and defeated division, gained the rear of the division, when all the batteries moved to the front to the position just held by the enemy, and from which the division had driven him.
Houghtaling advanced first and took position on the right of the pike [south side], just in the edge of the timber, supported by Colonel Roberts' brigade, where he remained until his last horse was killed or wounded, and his last round of ammunition was expended, and the enemy demanding his men to surrender. He was forced to abandon his battery, after a gallant fight for a most important position. His loss will be found in his statement, already submitted to you.
Bush took position on the north side of the pike, doing his duty bravely; the Missouri battery also on that side of the pike. These two batteries were exposed to a fire of artillery from their front and rear and of sharpshooters on their flank.
Captain Bush re-enforced Captain Houghtaling with one section of his battery, under First Lieut. D. Flansburg. Captain Hescock also sent his Parrott section, under First Lieut. R. C. M. Taliaferro. Lieutenant Taliaferro fell dead, fighting bravely to save his guns, being shot through the head. The two batteries on the north side of the pike engaged the enemy in front and rear until their ammunition was expended, when they retired through the cedar woods with the division. Captain Bush was compelled to abandon two of his guns in the dense cedar trees, for the lack of horses, the enemy charging his cannoneers. After gaining the open ground three guns of the Missouri battery were brought into action and fired on the enemy what little ammunition remained, until ordered to retire and replenish. Thus ended the operations of the 31st.
The batteries took a position, by order of General Sheridan, with the division on the south of the Nashville and Murfreesborough pike, about 3 a.m., January 1, 1863, where they remained until January 6, 1863, nothing of note occurring, except on the 1st, when a brigade of the enemy appeared in our front and was handsomely repulsed in five minutes, leaving 40 of his dead.
The loss of guns, &c., in the division, I believe to be unavoidable, and necessary to the successful resistance of the enemy's attack, which was made in heavy masses; and I do not think the officers can be blamed, as they could not do otherwise without most disastrous results to the army.
The loss of the batteries was severe, but they are in good discipline and ready for service.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
Captain First Missouri Artillery, Chief of Artillery, Third Div.
Lieut. GEORGE LEE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.
23 R R-VOL XX, PT I