fire from our artillery and infantry that they were finally repulsed and driven back with great loss the cotton-field.
About this time, 7 a.m., while directing the movements of the brigade, our brave General Sill was struck in the face by a musket ball and instantly killed. I then received your order to take command of the brigade. The enemy having turned our right, and again advancing in force, I moved to the rear with the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin and Eighty-eighth Illinois, and across the road, where I formed on the left of the Eighty-first Indiana, Woodruff's brigade, leaving the Twenty-first Michigan to support Hescock's battery, where they were assailed by great numbers of the enemy, but held their ground until the battery was moved, when they retired in good order, losing heavily in killed and wounded. [See report of Lieutenant-Colonel McCreery.] Having expended all the ammunition of the two regiments with me, I retired to and got a supply from the train of General Rousseau, ours having been cut off.
I then reformed my line on the east of the railroad, and moved forward to the Murfreesborough pike. Here I received orders from General McCook to move to the extreme right of our line, to support the cavalry, who were threatened by the rebel cavalry, and in some danger of being flanked. I formed and supported the Fifth Wisconsin Battery and remained in this position until dark, after which I retired the Eighty-eighth Illinois to the rear of the battery, and detailed the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin for picket duty, Colonel Kennett supporting my pickets with his cavalry.
At 2 a.m., January 1, I received your order to move the brigade to the vicinity of your headquarters, when, in accordance with your orders, I formed line of battle in the rear of Colonel Laiboldt's brigade in the following order: The Thirty-sixth Illinois on the right, Fourth Indiana Battery, Eighty-eighth Illinois, and Twenty-fourth Wisconsin on the left, the Twenty-first Michigan being for the time joined to the Third Brigade, Colonel Bradley commanding, where we lay during the 1st, 2nd, and part of the 3rd of January, 1863, inactive, with the exception of being ordered to form double column on Friday, January 2, to support the left wing [then heavily engaged with the enemy], if necessary, but were not needed.
Saturday, January 3, we moved, by your order, the whole brigade [the Twenty-first Michigan having joined] to the position before held by General Davis' division, to the right and front of our former position, where we remained inactive until Tuesday, January 6, when we moved to our present camp, south of Murfreesborough.
I am unable to give sufficient praise to the officers commanding the different regiments in the brigade; all have done their duty; but I must say that, in regard to Major Miller, Captain Olson, and Adjutant Biddulph, of the Thirty-sixth Illinois; Colonel Sherman and Major Chandler, of the Eighty-eighth Illinois; Lieutenant-Colonel McCreery and Adjt. M. B. Wells, of the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, they behaved with great coolness and presence of mind, ever ready to obey my command. Of my staff, I would especially notice Lieut. J. B. Watkins, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant J. L. Mitchell, aide-de-camp; Lieut. N. S. Bouton, brigade quartermaster, who was very active in procuring ammunition, and Quartermaster Sergt. Frederick Colburn, Thirty-third Ohio, acting as volunteer aide to General Sill, and after his death in the same capacity to me, and who showed great coolness and activity in carrying orders during the thickest of the fight. Brigade