Numbers 170. Report of Colonel Eli H. Murray, Third Kentucky Cavalry,
including skirmishes at La Vergne, December 26, Wilkinson's Cross-Roads, December 31, and on Manchester pike, January 5.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD KENTUCKY CAVALRY, Camp Stanley, near Murfreesborough, Tenn. January 7, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor herewith to transmit a report of the part taken by my command from December 26, 1862, the day of our advance from Nashville, the engagement before Murfreesborough, and pursuit of the enemy in their retreat.
On passing our outpost before Nashville, on the Murfreesborough road, my command formed the left wing of the advance. We had proceeded but a short distance when we encountered the enemy, and, pressing them closely, soon engaged in quite a brisk skirmish. Driving them in a lively chase, we succeeded in capturing 5 of the enemy. Skirmishing all day long through dense cedar thickets, we found quite a force at La Vergne, with quite and engagement, exposed to the fire of their artillery, which resulted only in the loss of 2 horses. Changing my position, my command formed the left, joined to General Cruft's brigade, capturing 1 other of the enemy.
We moved from there to Stewart's Creek the following day, forming still the left, and capturing 7 of the enemy. Advancing from thence, my command formed the right. Night found us on the ground afterward occupied by General Negley in the beginning of the general engagement. Captain Wolfley, commanding Second Battalion, opened communication with Major-General McCook during the day.
Major Shacklett, with his battalion, on the 30th formed a line of couriers (in rear of line of battle) with Major-General McCook. Captain Davis, with squadron, Companies B and D, ordered to report to General Stanley, at Wilkinson's Cross-Roads. This squadron was afterward with Colonel Minty, and engaged, with his command, the enemy while detached from me. Fifteen men, of Company C, under Lieutenant Smock, reported to General Van Cleve.
At 8 o'clock, December 31, 1862, Colonel Kennett, commanding division, gave me orders to move to Wilkinson's Cross-Roads. Having moved but a short distance, and in the direction of the cross-roads, I found the greatest confusion, caused by the right wing of the army falling back. Going but little farther, I found our whole train of baggage and ammunition in possession of the enemy. Captain Wolfley, with part of his battalion, and Captain Breathitt, commanding the First Battalion, with a squad of his command, in all about 80 men, in a moment were engaged charging down the train. We came upon the enemy in all directions. Here were engagements hand-to-hand, but dashing onward my men were doing in earnest the work before them. The open field gave us the place for charging. The enemy were marching about 250 of our men to their rear as prisoners. These we recaptured. We also re captured a portion of the Fifth Wisconsin Battery; also a section supposed to be the First Ohio. The hospital of General Palmer' s division was still held by them. Bringing about 40 men to dash upon them, their whole command fled. At one time it seemed as if my whole command were taking prisoners to the rear. There being no support near, I ordered the prisoners to be given to the nearest infantry, in order that I might bring all my force against them and hold the train. Major Shacklett here rejoined me, and having taken position near the hospital, our