On the morning of the 5th I was ordered to take command of the advance and pursue the enemy toward Murfreesborough.
By 9 a.m. the Eighth Division, Colonel Walker's brigade, Pioneer Brigade, and General Stanley's cavalry force had crossed the river and taken possession of Murfreesborough without having met any resistance, the rear guard of the enemy retreating on the Manchester and Shelbyville roads, our cavalry pursuing, supported by the Twenty-ninth Brigade, on the Shelbyville pike, and by Colonel Byrd's First East Tennessee Regiment, on the Manchester pike.
The rear guard of the enemy (three regiments of cavalry and one battery) was overtaken on the Manchester pike, 5 miles from Murfreesborough. Colonel Byrd fearlessly charged this unequal force of the enemy, driving him from his position, with a loss of 4 killed and 12 wounded; enemy's loss not ascertained.
Our army marched quietly into Murfreesborough, the chosen position of the enemy, which he was forced to abandon after a series of desperate engagements.
The joyful hopes of traitors have been crushed, treason receiving another fatal blow.
My command enthusiastically join me in expression of admiration of the official conduct of Generals Rosecrans and Thomas. During the most eventful periods of the engagements their presence was at the point of danger, aiding with their counsels and animating the troops by their personal bravery and cool determination.
I refer to my command with feelings of national pride for the living and personal sorrow for the dead. Without a murmur they made forced marches over almost impassable roads, through drenching winter rains, without a change of clothing or blankets, deprived of sleep or repose, constantly on duty for eleven days, living three days on a pint of flout and parched corn. Ever vigilant, always ready, sacrificing their lives with a contempt of peril, displaying the coolness, determination, and high discipline of veterans, they are entitled to our country's gratitude. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Tennessee may proudly inscribe upon their scrolls of fame the names of the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Eighteenth, Twenty-first, Sixty-ninth, and Seventy-fourth Ohio, Schultz's and Marshall's batteries (Ohio), the Eleventh Michigan, Nineteenth Illinois, Thirty-seventh Indiana, Nell's section, Kentucky battery, and Spear's East Tennessee Brigade.
I respectfully refer to the reports of General Spears, Colonels Miller and Stanley, which I approve and append hereto, for a detailed account of the part taken by each portion of the command, and for special reference to the meritorious conduct of individuals in their respective commands. In addition to which I make honorable mention of the bravery and efficient services rendered by the following-named officers and men, for whom I earnestly request promotion:
Brigadier-General Spears, commanding East Tennessee Brigade; Colonel T. R. Stanley, Eighteenth Ohio Volunteers, commanding Twenty-ninth Brigade; Colonel John F. Miller, Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers, commanding Seventh Brigade; Captain James St. C. Morton, commanding Pioneer Brigade; Captain James H. Stokes, commanding Chicago Battery; Major John H. King, commanding Fifteenth U. S. Infantry; Captain Bush, commanding Fourth Indiana Battery; Captain W. E. Standart, commanding Ohio battery; Captain James A. Lowrie, assistant adjutant-general, Eighth Division; Lieutenant Frederick H. Kennedy, aide-de-camp;