Numbers 155. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Simeon C. Aldrich, Forty-fourth Indiana Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS FORTY-FOURTH INDIANA VOLUNTEERS, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 5, 1863.
DEAR SIR: It becomes my duty to make a brief report of engagements before Murfreesborough.
We went into the field on December 31, 1862, with 316 men, officers included. We took our position, by your order, in brigade on the right, and marched in line of battle through an open field south of the pike. In passing through this field we discovered the enemy making a flank movement on our right, in a wood bordering upon the field. Intelligence was conveyed to you, and, as I understand, by you to our division commander. We made a stand at the edge of the wood in our front, but were soon ordered to advance, which we did.
After entering the woods our skirmishers were ordered in, as the line of the enemy was in sight. We still advanced to within, as near as I could judge, 100 yards of their line, and opened fire. They replied, and advanced their line; at the same time the flanking force opened a galling cross-fire upon us. We held the position as long as we could do so without sacrificing our whole regiment; we then fell back to our battery and formed line of battle. We were ordered by General Van Cleve to remain here till further orders. We soon had orders from you to join the brigade at the right, which we did. Here we formed a new line, and remained till some time in the night, when we were ordered to march to the left again, where we remained through the night.
Permit me to pass over occurrences not important, for want of room, to January 2, when we were in line of battle on the left. About 4 p. m. the enemy was discovered to be advancing. I received orders from you to fall back to low ground, if it was found we could not hold our position. The enemy attacked on our right; Seventy-ninth and Thirty-fifth Indiana engaged, and held their position firm for some time. In the mean time I directed my fire at right oblique. The enemy pressed on, and the Thirty-fifth and Seventy-ninth gave way. I still held my men and kept up the fire till the enemy had passed by us on the right, and then gave orders to fall back, which we did, to a rail fence. Then we rallied again, and gave them a cross-fire; but they still advancing made it necessary to fall back to the ground you designated. I gave the command, and we fell back to the building on the hill. Here Adjutant Hodges and myself, together with other officers, succeeded in rallying a large force, together with our regiment, and opened a destructive cross-fire on the enemy, which soon had its effect upon their extreme left, and assisted very much in their final repulse. We followed them till ordered to fall back.
I must here mention that at the first rally at the rail fence was the last seen of Colonel Williams. I suppose him to be taken prisoner. Our loss, as it stands now, is 56 wounded, 10 killed, and 47 missing.*
I must make mention of some officers and men that acted with great bravery: First is our colonel, William C. Williams. Adjt. Joseph C. Hodges was among the most efficient and brave; Acting Lieutenant Joseph W. Burch, Company A; Lieutenants Gunsenhouser and Thomas, Company F; Getty and Murray, Company B; Wilson, Company K; Hildebrand, Company E; acting lieutenants, Company G; Lieutenants
*But see revised statement, p. 213.