Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel McKee's regiment, dashed bravely for ward, though exposed to a fire from the opposite side, threw the combustible materials into the stream, and saved the bridge. While this gallant feat was being performed, the left flank of the leading brigade was attacked by cavalry. The menaced regiments immediately changed front to the left, and a company of the One hundredth Illinois, Colonel Bartleson's regiment, succeeded in cutting off and capturing 75 prisoners, with their arms, and 12 horses, with their accouterments.
The result of the day's operations was some twenty odd casualties (wounded) in Hascall's brigade, and some 35 prisoners taken from the enemy. The enemy fell back in great disorder from Stewart's Creek. He left tents standing on the southern bank of the creek, and on this encampment the ground strewn with arms.
Sunday, the 28th ultimo, we remained in camp, waiting for the troops of the right wing and center to get in position.
Monday, the 29th, the advance was resumed. Wagner's brigade, of my division, was deployed on the left or eastern, and a brigade of General Palmer's division on the right or western side of the road. Cox's Tenth Indiana Battery supported Wagner's brigade. Moving pari passu, the two brigades advanced, clearing all opposition till we arrived within 2 1/2 miles of Murfreesborough. Harker's brigade was disposed on the left of Wagner's in the advance, and Hascall's held the reserve.
On arriving within 2 1/2 miles of Murfreesborough, the evidences were perfectly unmistakable that the enemy was in force immediately in our front, prepared to resist seriously and determinedly our farther advance. His troops, displayed in battle array, were plainly to be seen in our front. Negley's division, which was to take position in the center and complete the connection between the right and left wings, was not up, but 7 miles in the rear. Van Cleve's division, which was to support the left, was in rear of Negley's, nor had the right wing, McCook's command, got into position. Consequently I halted the troops in advance, reported the fact to General Crittenden, commanding the left wing, and desired further orders.
Up to this moment the information received had indicated, with considerable probability, that the enemy would evacuate Murfreesborough, offering no serious opposition. But observations assured me, very soon after arriving so near to the town, that we should meet with a determined resistance, and I did not deem it proper to precipitate the force in advance (two divisions, my own and General Palmer's) on the entire force of the enemy, with the remainder of our troops so far in the rear as to make it entirely possible, perhaps probable, that a serious reverse would occur before they could support us. Furthermore, the afternoon was well nigh spent, and an attempt to advance would have involved us in the obscurity of the night, on unexamined ground, in the presence of an unseen foe, to whom our movements would have rendered us fearfully vulnerable.
The half being approved, my division was disposed in order of battle, and the front securely guarded by a continuous line of skirmishers, thrown out well in advance of their reserves. The right of the division Wagner's brigade, rested on the right of the turnpike, and occupied a piece of wooded ground with an open field in front of it. The center, Harker's brigade, occupied a part of the wood in which Wagner's brigade was posted, and extended leftward into an open field, covered in front by a low swell, which it was to occupy in case of an attack, and General Hascall's brigade was posted on the left of the division, with its left flank resting nearly on Stone's River. The entire division was