We were relieved on the morning of the 31st ultimo by the Ninth Indiana Regiment, and at daylight of the same day our regiment was called out under arms, expecting to participate in a general attack on the enemy's positions at Murfreesborough. Just as we had formed our line, and were preparing to advance, a terrific fire on the right of our position disclosed the fact that the battle had opened. In compliance with orders from you, my regiment countermarched, changed front, and advanced to the edge of a cedar thicket, to the right and rear of our first position, forming t eight flank of the brigade, where it was evident our services would soon be needed. Hardly had we taken our position when the enemy was upon us. Concealed from the view of my men by the thick undergrowth of cedar, the first indication they had of his presence was a volley from his muskets, which riddled our ranks. It was my impression that the Fifteenth U. S. Infantry was in my front, as we had been informed that such was the fact on entering the thicket; hence the precaution of throwing out skirmishers had not been taken.
Up to this time Major Isaac Kinley retained command of the regiment, but at this point was seriously, perhaps fatally, wounded, being struck in the thigh by a musket-ball. Here, too, Capt., A. D. Shultz, of Company B, fell, mortally wounded, while bravely encouraging his men; and every mounted officer of the regiment except the adjutant, had his horse shot under him.
After delivering a few well-aimed volleys at the enemy, it became apparent that our position could not be held, the line having been already confused by the Fifteenth Regulars passing out between my left and the right of the Sixth Ohio, and our right and left flanks, as well as our front, being exposed to the enemy's fire.
He quickly discovered his advantage, and, charging upon my regiment with four times its number, compelled it to retire, cutting it off from the brigade, and separating two of my companies (A and C) from the regiment. The strongest efforts were by all the officers of my regiment to rally the men, and, though their bravery was unquestioned and they exhibited a strong disposition to maintain their ground, the fire of the enemy was too hot to admit of it, and they were retired to a point a short distance from the scene, of our first conflict. Here, with the valuable assistance of Captain Gilbert Trusler and Adjt. J. H. McClung and other officers of the regiment I succeeded in forming our line, and again advanced under a heavy fire to the front. Not a man of my command flinched, and for eight long hours we assisted in maintaining our position against the furious assaults of the enemy.
First Lieutenant J. W. J. Smith and Second Lieutenant J. C. Byram, both of Company G, were wounded in the early part of they day, and compelled to retire from the field.
At 4 p.m., the fire having slackened, we noted our condition and strength, and found that out of 430 commissioned officers and men, with whom we had entered the battle in the morning 213 remained. this number was increased, by the arrival of those who had become separated from the regiment during the day, to 283.
On January 1 we rested, and, although my men were exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery during several hours of the day, none of them were killed or wounded.
On the morning of the 2nd, by your order, we moved across the river, taking a position on its northeast bank, behind a barricade constructed by my men. We had remained here but a few hours when the enemy made a strong and sudden attack on our position from the direction of our right flank, while his batteries to our right gave my line a raking