Numbers 147. Report of Lieutenant Cortland Livingston, Third Wisconsin Battery.
CAMP OF THE THIRD WISCONSIN BATTERY.
Near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 5, 1863.
SIR: I would report as follows the part taken in the actions of December 31 and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of January, 1863, by the Third Wisconsin Battery:
At daybreak on the morning of December 31 we moved from camp with our division,and crossed the ford at Stone's River to the east and Murfreesborough side. We took a commanding position in battery. In a short time we were ordered to recross to the west side and take up a position commanding the ford (all the troops that had crossed were ordered to recross). The Third Brigade,under Colonel Price, supported our flanks. Very early in the action the enemy gained on our right wing, and many wagons and ambulances moved across this ford. A hospital was established in some buildings there. I inquired of an officer, and was informed that we had infantry pickets and a small force of cavalry on the other side.
About 12 m. I saw a great stampede among the ambulances, wagons, and stragglers opposite, and was told some rebel cavalry were charging on them. I was fearful of making a mistake and firing on our own cavalry. We could not see the enemy until he got among the wagons and was taking them off. We then opened upon them and disabled 2 wagons, which blocked the lane and obliged them to leave without their booty. I think they got off with only 5 wagons. They left 1 man killed, and carried off their wounded. We shelled the woods in the direction they had taken. We expended 50 rounds of ammunition that day. The only casualty was 1 man, Henry S. Netley, wounded in the thigh, slightly.
January 1, Thursday the battery was advanced across the river with the Third Division, under command of Colonel Beatty, with orders to protect the left from any flank movement, but not to bring on a general engagement. After moving forward about half a mile we discovered two regiments of infantry on a hill-side. We threw a few shells among them,and they withdrew to the woods on their left. We fired very little that day, only when we saw evidences of their massing troops. We had 1 man (A. J. Uleric) slightly wounded by the sharpshooters.
January 2. This morning we discovered the enemy had erected a fortification on the brow of the hill, 1 1/2 miles to our front. Soon they opened on us with their 24-pounder brass pieces. We did not reply and they did us no injury. Soon they moved these guns nearer to us, and more to their right. This give them a flank fire, and we found it very dangerous to remain there. We were ordered to withdraw and take up a position a half mile to our rear and left, near the hospital. About half an hour after we had done so, we saw the enemy had drawn up in line and were advancing in great force. Just then General Rosecrans ordered me to change my position, so that I was a little late in opening my fire. The enemy advanced steadily, driving in our pickets. Our fire was very effective,but their ranks closed up immediately.
Soon I saw our right had given way that rested on the river. A heavy column had advanced under cover of the bank of the river and its skirt of woods, and had flanked the troops stationed there. I then sent my caissons across to the west side, and seeing everything giving way, I sent one section at a time across, still working those that remained until the