No. 65. Report of Col. Benjamin F. Scribner, Thirty-eighth Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, CENTER, Near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 9, 1863.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the part borne by my command in the engagements before Murfreesborough on December 31 and three succeeding days:
At daylight we left our bivouac, and moved about 1 mile to the front, and formed the second line of your division, two regiments extending into the cedar thicket on the right, and the left extending to the Murfreesborough and Nashville pike. My line was disposed from right to left, in the following order: The Tenth Wisconsin Volunteers, Col. A. R. Chapin; Ninety-fourth Ohio, Col. J. W. Frizell; Thirty-eighth Indiana, Lieut. Col. D. F. Griffin; Thirty-third Ohio, Capt. E. J. Ellis, and Second Ohio, Lieut. Col. John Kell. Having just finished loading arms, I received your orders to proceed, in double-quick time, to the assistance of the right wing, and to follow the Seventeenth Brigade halted in the woods, I was ordered by General Thomas to move to the right, and soon after formed my lien of battle near the Wilkinson pike, when we were opened upon by the enemy's battery.
When near this position, the Thirty-third and Second Ohio were, by your order, detached and moved back near to the position we first occupied, to support our batteries stationed there, and nobly did they defend them; for soon after the enemy fiercely charged them, and were handsomely repulsed, the Second Ohio capturing the colors of the Thirtieth Arkansas- a victory dearly bought by the loss of the gallant Lieutenant-Colonel Kell, commanding.
From near the Wilkinson pike I was ordered to move back in great haste to near our position on the Nashville pike, which order was faithfully obeyed. My right had just emerged from the woods, when the enemy, who had just been repulsed in their efforts to take the batteries before mentioned, were seen retreating in disorder in a northwesterly direction through a narrow neck of woods, and were opened upon by the Ninety-fourth Ohio and the two right companies of the Thirty-eighth Indiana. I then threw my skirmishers forward, and advanced about 600 yards into the woods, where my lines became masked by General Negley's division, which was falling back under a heavy fire from the enemy, who appeared to be advancing from a point south of the direction taken by their retreating column. I opened my line to permit that portion of General Negley's command who had expended their ammunition to pass through, which was done in good order, a portion of them forming in my rear.
Here the Ninety-fourth Ohio was ordered to the pike, leaving me but two regiments, Thirty-eighth Indiana and Tenth Wisconsin, the former now on the right. General Negley having halted his regiments some 25 paces obliquely in front of my line, I wheeled my right under heavy fire to connect with him. Here I appeared to be nearly surrounded, a heavy column turning my left, to prevent which I ordered the Tenth Wisconsin to change front to the rear on their first company, thereby Wisconsin to change front to the rear on their first company, thereby forming a right angle with the Thirty-eighth Indiana Volunteers. This position was scarcely taken when the enemy came down on us in great fury. They appeared to be massed in several lines, and their heads seemed to be in terraces not 25 yards before us. For twenty minutes