obeying these orders, owing to those I had received from Captain Mendenhall directing me to await his own. The position in which I was placed by this conflict of orders was exceedingly painful, but I found myself justified by subsequent events.
At about 4 p.m. of the 2nd instant, after I had been placed in position by Captain Mendenhall on an elevation near Negley's division, two of the enemy's opened upon us from the front, while a third gave signal for his last attack upon our left. I advanced the four rifles holding my howitzers in reserve for the shortest range. The batteries around me were silenced far too soon, for when my rifled ammunition was exhausted I found that some scoundrel had led off my caissons, and I was left only with the howitzers to reply to the enemy's concentrated artillery fire. Fortunately, Captain Swallow's battery came up beside us, and the crest of the hill was held until our re-enforcements came up, when, with the assistance of Captain Stoke's battery, the enemy's guns were silenced.
We ceased firing, with our last shot exhausted. We have not again been engaged or under fire. I have to remark, in this connection, that if through the five consecutive days, during which we were thus more or less severely engaged, we expended an unusual amount of ammunition, it must be recognized that we have been longer, and, in general, more closely engaged than perhaps any other batteries of the army, and that nearly all our ammunition has been expended at short range.
The following are our casualties, &c.: Number of men killed, 2; number of men wounded, 14; number of men missing, 6; horses killed, 20; pieces disabled, 1; rounds of ammunition fired, 2,299.
In place of the piece disabled, the Nineteenth Illinois gave me one captured by them from the enemy.
I do myself honor, sir, in asking your attention to the efficient and meritorious services of Lieutenants Harry C. Cushing and Henry A. Huntington, both of the Fourth U. S. Artillery. Disregarding all personal exposure under all circumstances,and especially during the hottest fires of December 31 and 2nd instant, these gallant officers discharged their duty with such coolness and fidelity that they deserve my most grateful mention.
My brave men look for their reward to the generous appreciation which has been freely offered them by the troops with whom they fought and the general commanding the division in which they serve.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. C. PARSONS,
First Lieutenant Fourth U. S. Artillery, Comdg. Battalion.
Captain D. W. NORTON
Numbers 123. Reports of Brigadier General Charles Cruft, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade,
including skirmish at La Vergne, December 26.
HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, LEFT WING,
In the Field, before Murfreesborough, Tenn. January 8, 1863
CAPTAIN: I herewith submit, for the consideration of the general commanding the division, the following report of the operations of this brigade in the recent action before Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
The brigade broke camp, near Nashville, on the morning of the 26th