War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0379 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

During the day the Twenty-eighth Brigade, Colonel Starkweather, was attacked by General Wheeler's cavalry in force, and some of the wagons of his train were burned before they reached him, having started that morning from Stewartsborough to join him. The enemy were finally repulsed and driven off with loss. Starkweather's loss was small, as will be seen by his report of the action. In this affair the whole brigade behaved handsomely. The burden of the fight fell upon the Twenty-first Wisconsin, Lieutenant-Colonel Hobart commanding. This regiment led by its efficient commander, behaved like veterans.

From the evening of the 31st until the ensuing Saturday night no general battle occurred in front of my division, though firing of artillery and small-arms was kept up during the day, and much of the time, of small-arms, during the night. The rain on the night of the 31st, which continued, at intervals, until the Saturday night following, rendered the ground occupied by my command exceedingly sloppy and muddy, and during much of the time my men had neither shelter, food, nor fire. I procured corn, which they parched and ate, and some of them ate horsesteaks, cut and broiled, from horses upon the battle-field. Day and night, in the cold, wet, and mud, my men suffered severely, but during the whole time I did not hear one single man murmur at hardships, but all were cheerful and ever ready to stand by their arms and fight. Such endurance I never saw before. In this severe trial of their patience and their strength they wee much encouraged by the constant presence and solicitous anxiety of General Thomas for their welfare.

On the evening of Saturday, 3rd instant, I asked permission of General Thomas to drive the enemy from the wood on our left front, to which he gave his consent. Just before night I directed the batteries of Guenther and Loomis to shell the woods with six rounds per gun, fired as rapidly as possible. This was very handsomely done, and ended just at dusk, when the Third Ohio Regiment, Lieut. Col. O. A. Lawson, and the Eighty-eighth Indiana, Col. George Humphrey, both under command of the brigade commander, Col. John Beatty, moved promptly up the woods. When near the woods they received a heavy fire from the enemy, but returned it vigorously, and gallantly pressed forward. On reaching the woods a fresh body of the enemy, attracted by the fire, moved up on their left to support them. On that body of the enemy Loomis' battery opened with shell. The fusillade was very rapid, and continued for, perhaps, three-quarters of an hour, when Beatty's command drove the enemy at the point of the bayonet and held the woods. It turned out that the enemy was posted behind a stone breastwork in the woods, and, when ousted, about 30 men were taken prisoners behind the works. This ended the battle of Murfreesborough.

On the morning of the 31st, six companies of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, MajorThomas P. Nicholas commanding, were ordered down to watch and defend the fords on Stone's River, to our left and rear. The cavalry of the enemy several times, in force, attempted to cross these fords, but Nicholas very gallantly repulsed them, with loss, and they did not cross the river. I should have mentioned that on Friday evening, late, I was directed by General Thomas to place a regiment in the woods on our left front as an outpost, and with a view to hold these woods, as they were near our line, and the enemy could greatly annoy us if allowed to hold them. Our skirmishers were then just leaving the woods. I ordered the Forty-second Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Shanklin commanding, to take that position, which he did; but early next morning the enemy, in large force, attacked Colonel Shanklin, first furiously shelling the woods, and drove the regiment back to our lines,