December 31, the brigade was ordered across Stone's River. Prior to reaching the same an order was received from General Crittenden to countermarch the brigade, together with Swallow's battery, in double-quick to the rear,as the train was attacked. Passing quickly through the woods, as the wagons had blocked up the road, we came out into the open field beyond, and formed a line of battle, perpendicular to the road, on the left, in a corn-field, through which the rebels were seen leading off the train slowly, as the ground was soft. Beyond the train, in the same field, was about a squadron of cavalry, by rebels.
On our appearance the cavalry began capturing their guard; one escaped one was killed. The rebel cavalry were drawn up in line across the field, in the edge of the woods. Captain Swallow, who had managed to get his battery through the obstructions expeditiously soon had his pieces in position, and opened fire on the rebel lines, which began dispersing, and were charged by a force of our cavalry, which had passed down the road to the right of the train, doing excellent service. The effect of the charge I could not see from where we were. Captain Swallow now moved his pieces to a more elevated position, which commanded the country for a great distance, from whence he opened on their scattered forces, driving them out of view.
At this point an order was received from General Van Cleve to return to the Third Division, and form on the right of the First Brigade in two lines, to support it; that Colonel Harker would support my right. The order was immediately complied with; the division began advancing down the slope of the cedar ridge south of the road, passing Colonel Harker's on my right, beyond the foot of the slope. After passing his brigade, which did not move, my right flank became exposed, with strong indications of a heavy force approaching in front, extending beyond my right flank. As we continued advancing, I sent three different messengers by my aides, calling Colonel Harker's attention to my exposed flank,and at length reported in person to General Van Cleve. While doing this the Sixty-fifth Ohio, which, it appeared, had been lying down at the edge of the field, rose to their feet in the place where a force was needed. Supposing it would remain there, I passed back again to my position,to see the Sixty-fifth march by the right flank back to Colonel Harker's left. The firing in front of my first line, composed of the Fifty-ninth Ohio and Forty-fourth Indiana, was getting to be heavy,and the skirmishers, running in, reported, a heavy force advancing through the woods, outflanking my right. Lieutenant Temple, of my staff was sent at once to Lieutenant-Colonel Dick with orders to wheel his regiment to the right, and place it in the woods to secure my flank. Before the order reached him the enemy appeared coming through the woods.
Seeing the force would have to fall back, I galloped to the battery and ordered it to open fire to the right of my flank into the woods, for the purpose of checking and confusing the outflanking force, to save my brigade from the effects of the cross-fire, while falling back, as much as possible. The order to fire was complied with instantly the whole battery opening several volleys in quick succession, and with decided effect, into the woods, while the column fell back rapidly, the front line having sustained itself gallantly until outflanked. The artillery came safely out of the field under fire, Lieutenant Buckmar, a gallant officer, being shot from his horse and badly wounded just as he was passing out of the field.
After falling back from the field, the Thirteenth Ohio, under Major