War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0710 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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Numbers 194. Report of Brigadier General Daniel S. Donelson, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.


Shelbyville, Tenn., January 20, 1863.

I have the honor to submit a report of the part taken by the First Brigade in the late engagement with the enemy before Murfreesborough.

The brigade was composed of the following regiments and battery, viz: The Sixteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel John H. Savage; the Thirty-eighth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel John C. Carter; the Eighth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel W. L. Moore; Eighty-fourth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, Colonel S. S. Stanton, and Captain Carnes' battery. The Eighty-fourth Regiment, being a new and very small regiment, was assigned to my command on the morning of December 29, 1862, only two days before the battle.

In obedience to orders, the tents were struck and the wagons packed and sent to the rear Sunday night 27th ultimo.

At daylight Monday morning the brigade was moved to and assumed its line of battle, which was second and supporting to the first line of battle, two companies of Colonel Savage's, the right regiment, extending across the railroad, and Colonel Carter's, the left regiment, across the Wilkinson pike, its left resting on the right of General Stewart's brigade. This line of battle, with General Chalmers' brigade in front, which mine was to support, was formed on the brow of the hill, about 300 yards in a southeast direction from the while house, known as Mrs. James'. That position was retained under an occasional shelling, with but few casualties, until dark Tuesday evening, when, in obedience to orders from Lieutenant-General Polk, the brigade was moved forward to the front line, to relieve General Chalmers' brigade, which had already held that position three days and nights. Before day the brigade returned to its proper position, and General Chalmers' brigade resumed its place on the front line.

During the night a general order from General Bragg was received directing a vigorous and persistent attack at daylight by our left wing on the right of the enemy, the whole of both lines conforming to the movements of the left wing, gradually wheeling and attacking the enemy as soon as the advance of the left wing should justify it. Orders were received from Lieutenant-General Polk directing me to conform the movements of my brigade to those of General Chalmers' brigade, always keeping in close supporting distance-about 2,000 feet in rear-and to support it promptly when ordered. Orders also came from Major-General Cheatham directing me to obey any orders which I might receive from Major-General Withers, who gave me orders similar to those received from Lieutenant-General Polk.

In obedience to the foregoing orders, I moved my brigade, except Stanton's regiment, forward at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, December 31 (the right being the directing regiment and the railroad the line of direction), until it reached the front line, from which General Chalmers' brigade had started, where it was halted until orders should be received to advance to the support of General Chalmers. From the moment I moved from my first position in the morning until dark that night my brigade was constantly under the fire of shot and shell from the enemy's batteries, and it sustained more or less loss in killed and wounded on