Numbers 186. Report of Lieutenant Colonel John G. Parkhurst, Ninth Michigan Infantry,
including skirmish near Overall's Creek, December 31.
HDQRS. NINTH REGIMENT MICHIGAN VOLS. (CENTER), FOURTEENTH A. C., DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, January 4, 1863.
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Ninth Regiment Michigan Infantry, in the recent advance of the army and in the five days' battle before Murfreesborough:
On the morning of December 26, this regiment, as the provost guards to the corps d'armee of Major General George H. Thomas, marched 2 miles out from Nashville on the Franklin pike, and crossed over to the Nolensville pike, and proceeded upon that road as far as the Edmondson pike, a distance of 7 miles, and marched out 1 mile on the Edmondson pike, and encamped for the night.
On Saturday morning the regiment, with headquarters train, returned to the Nashville pike, and marched to a point 1 mile south of Nolensville, and 17 miles from Nashville.
On Sunday morning the regiment marched across from the Nolensville pike to the Murfreesborough pike, and encamped, with headquarters, about 5 miles south of La Vergne, and remained there until Tuesday morning, when the regiment moved out on the Murfreesborough pike to Overall's Creek, about 2 miles in rear of our front, and established headquarters for the general.
During the several days' marches the regiment picked up many stragglers from the army in front and sent them forward to their commands.
On Wednesday morning, about two hours after the commencement of Wednesday's battle, I noticed many stragglers crossing the fields from the direction of the right wing of our army, and sent out forces and brought them in, until I had from 100 to 200 collected, when I discovered several cavalrymen approaching with great speed from the direction of our front, and very soon discovered that a large cavalry force, together with infantry and a long transportation train, were in the most rapid retreat, throwing away their arms and accouterments, and many of the without hats or caps, and apparently in the most frightful state of mind, crying, "We are all lost."
I at once concluded it was a stampede of frightened soldiers, and before many had passed me I drew my regiment up in line of battle across the road, extending on either side, and ordered my men to fix bayonets, and to take the position of guard against cavalry. this was done with celerity, and with much difficulty. Without firing upon the frightened troops, I succeeded in checking their course, and ordered every man to face about. Within half an hour I had collected about 1,000 cavalrymen, seven pieces of artillery, and nearly two regiments of infantry. Among them was a brigadier-general. The cavalry, or most of it, belonged to the Second Brigade, and, if I am not mistaken, was commanded by Colonel Zahm. The infantry was from different regiments belonging to General Johnson's division, One colonel succeeded in escaping my lines, and passed on toward Nashville.
From the reports made by these troops, I did not know but the enemy were in pursuit in force, and, consequently, I organized the forces I