War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0666 KY.,MID. AND E. TENN.,N. ALA.,AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXII.

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them. About this same time a report reached me that a heavy force of the enemy's infantry was advancing on the Lebanon road, about 5 miles in Breckinridge's front. Brigadier-General Pegram, who had been sent to that road to cover the flank of the infantry with his cavalry brigade (save two regiments detached with Wheeler and Wharton), was ordered forward immediately to develop any such movement. The orders for the two brigades from Breckinridge were countermanded, while dispositions were made, at his request, to re-enforce him. Before they could be carried out, the movements ordered disclosed the facts that no force had crossed Stone's River; that the only enemy in our immediate front there was a small body of sharpshooters, and that there was no advance on the Lebanon road. These unfortunate misapprehensions on that part of the field (which, with proper precaution, could not have existed) withheld from active operations three fine brigades until the enemy had succeeded in checking our progress, had re-established his lines, and had collected many of his broken battalions. Having now settled the question that no movement was being made against our right, and none even to be apprehended, Breckinridge was ordered to leave two brigades to support the battery at A, on his side of Stone's River, and with the balance of the force to cross to the left and report to Lieutenant-General Polk. By the time this could be accomplished it was too late to send this force to Lieutenant-General Hardee's support, who was unable to make further progress, and he was directed to maintain his position. Lieutenant-General Polk was directed with these re-enforcements to throw all the force he could collect upon the enemy's extreme left, and thereby either carry that strong point which had so far resisted us successfully, or, failing in that, at least to draw off from Hardee's front the formidable opposition there concentrated. The three brigades of Jackson, Preston, and Adams were successively reported for this work. How gallantly they moved to their task, and how much they suffered in the determined effort to accomplish it, will best appear from reports of subordinate commanders and the statement of losses, herewith. Upon this flank, their strongest defensive position, resting on the river bank, the enemy had concentrated not less than twenty pieces of his heaviest artillery, masked almost entirely from view, but covering an open space in front of several hundred yards. Supported right, left, and rear by heavy masses of infantry, this position proved impracticable, and after two unsuccessful efforts the attempt to carry it by infantry was abandoned. Our heaviest batteries of artillery and rifled guns of long range were now concentrated in front of, and their fire opened on, this position. After a cannonade of some time the enemy's fire slackened, and finally ceased near nightfall. Lieutenant-General Hardee had slightly retired his line from the farthest point he had attained for better position and cover without molestation from the enemy. Lieutenant-General Polk's infantry, including the three re-enforcing brigades, uniting their left with Hardee's right and extending to our extreme right flank, formed a continuous line very nearly perpendicular to the original line of battle, thus leaving nearly the whole field with all its trophies-the enemy's dead and many of his wounded, his hospitals and stores-in our full possession. The body of Brigadier-General Sill, one of their division commanders, was found where he had fallen, and was sent to town and decently interred, though he had forfeited all claim to such consideration by the acts of cruelty, barbarity, and atrocity but a few days before committed under his authority on the women, children, and old men living near the road on which he had made a reconnaissance.