great satisfaction, this able officer, with consummate address, withdrew from the actual presence of a vastly superior force his artillery and troops, and recrossed the river without any serious loss.
During the night General McCook came over to see the commanding general, and reported that he was on the Wilkinson pike, about 3 miles in the rear of our line, and that he should advance in the morning.
The next morning (the 30th) early, my line of battle was formed. Palmer's division occupied the ground to the right of the turnpike, his right resting on General Negley's left, General Negley having advanced into the woods and taken a position on the center, to connect with General McCook when he should come into line. General Wood was to occupy that part of our front to the left of the turnpike, extending down the river. General Van Cleve was held in reserve, to the rear and left.
This position of our forces was, without material change, maintained all day, though the skirmishing during part of the day was very heavy, particularly on our extreme right, where McCook was coming up. Then, when it apparently assumed almost the proportions of a battle, I proposed to cross the river with my corps and attack Murfreesborough from the left, by way of the Lebanon pike, but the general, though approving the plan of attack, would not consent that I should move until McCook was more seriously engaged.
On the morning of the 31st, when the battle began I occupied the front near the turnpike, General Palmer's division on the right, General Wood's on the left, General Van Cleve in reserve, to the rear and left.
About 8 o'clock, when my troops under Van Cleve were crossing the river, as ordered, and when all was ready for an advance movement, it became evident that our right was being driven back. Orders were received and immediately issued recalling Van Cleve, and stopping the advance. Van Cleve was ordered to leave a brigade to guard the ford (Matthews' brigade, Colonel Price commanding in Colonel Matthews' absence, was left), and to hurry with all possible dispatch to try and check the enemy to the right and rear. One brigade of his division, Colonel Fyffe's, had already been ordered to protect the train then threatened near the hospital; and General Van Cleve moved at once, and quickly, to the right with Beatty's brigade. He arrived most opportunely, as his own and Colonel Beatty's reports show, and checked the enemy.
The confusion of our own troops, who were being driven from the woods at this point, hindered him for some little time from forming his men in line of battle. This difficulty, however, was soon overcome, his line rapidly formed, and one small brigade, commanded by the gallant Colonel Beatty, of the Nineteenth Ohio, under the direction of General Van Cleve, boldly attacked vastly superior forces of the enemy, then advancing in full career, checked their advance, and drove them back.
Being soon re-enforced by Fyffe's brigade and Harker's brigade, of Wood's division, the enemy were pressed vigorously too far. They came upon the enemy massed to receive them, who, outnumbering them and outflanking them, compelled them to fall back in turn. This they did in good order, and fighting with such effect that the enemy drew off and left them, and they were able to hold their position during the remainder of the day. From this time the great object of the enemy seemed to be to break our left and front, where, under great disadvantages, my two divisions, under Generals Wood and Palmer, maintained their ground. When the troops composing the center and right wing of our army had been driven by the enemy from our original line of battle to a line almost perpendicular to it, the First and Second Divisions of the
29 R R-VOL XX, PT I