to haul away the pieces. Five guns were lost; four were saved by the men of the batteries, assisted by the infantry.
On reaching the woods, I halted the command and formed a line of battle, faced by the rear rank, and delivered several well-directed volleys into the enemy's ranks, now crossing the open field over which I had retreated. This checked the advance of the enemy for a short time, strewing the ground with his dead. Being closely pressed on both flanks, and receiving fire from three directions, I again retired my command, the men loading while marching, and firing to the rear as rapidly as possible. In this way my command retreated for the Nashville pike, in a northeasterly direction.
While in the forest, being closely pressed in the rear, the enemy in strong force was encountered on the line of retreat, when a destructive fire was opened upon my column, which caused them to break to the right. My men did not run, but marched to the pike, carrying many of our wounded. When near the pike, and when rallying his men, Colonel Hull, of the Thirty-seventh Indiana, was severely wounded and disabled. He had fought bravely and gallantly during the whole engagement.
The Twenty-first Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Neibling, rallied near the pike, and, at the request of General Rousseau, took a position for the support of a battery then at work near the road. Ammunition was furnished, and the regiment fought with the battery over an hour, and then rejoined my command on the left of the road, where I had organized and obtained ammunition.
During this entire engagement, and under all these terribly appalling circumstances, both officers and men of my command behaved with admirable coolness and bravery. Examples of heroic daring and gallantry were everywhere to be seen, but where all acted so well it is difficult to make special mention without doing injustice to many.
The cool courage and distinguished gallantry of Colonel William Sirwell, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers; Colonel Granville Moody, Seventy-fourth Ohio (who was wounded early in the engagement and refused to leave the field); Colonel J. S. Hull, Thirty-seventh Indiana, and Lieut. Colonel James M. Neibling, Twenty-first Ohio, regimental commanders, deserve the highest praise, and the skill and ability with which these brave offices performed their responsible duties cannot be too highly applauded. The other field officers and company officers, and also Lieutenants Marshall and Ellsworth, of the artillery, displayed that high courage and determined bravery which mark the veteran soldier. Too much cannot be said in praise of both officers and men.
The losses in my brigade, killed and wounded in action, amounted to over 500 men.
In the evening of the 31st I was ordered by General Negley to take a position on the center front across the Nashville road for support to the batteries in position at that place. My command remained in this position until the next morning, when I was ordered to take position, as reserve for General Hascall's division, to the left of the railroad. In the afternoon of January 1, I received orders to march my command to the support of the right of General McCook's corps. I took position as directed, and remained there all night in the open field, and until about 1 p.m. on the 2nd, when I was ordered to the support by General Crittenden's corps, on the left. I took position, as ordered by General Negley, in an open field, in rear of the battery on the left of the railroad and near the bank of Stone's River.
28 R R-VOL XX, PT I