War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0729 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

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with three or four pieces of the battery which they had vainly endeavored to withdraw. These are believed to have been the guns posted on the elevation in the field above mentioned, and from which we had received the injury while at the rock wall in the woods. As we entered the woods the enemy gave us a most galling fire, but we moved steadily forward, driving them farther into the thick wood, and now we passed the various pieces of artillery which they were trying to remove, but which, on our approach and under our fire and from loss of horses, thickness of timber, &c., they were forced soon to abandon. These we left in our rear and pressed upon the heavy lines of their infantry, under whose fire we were exposed. Some 200 yards farther into the woods the enemy appeared in great force, rather to my left. They here poured in upon me a most effective and murderous fire. This we returned with all the vigor and rapidity possible, gradually moving forward, swinging, according to orders, a little from left to right. This constant and severe fire continued for near an hour, when, but the persistency and accuracy of our fire, our steady and resistless advance, the obstinacy of the enemy was at last overcome, and, giving way, a perfect rout ensued. Their retreat was rapidly followed up by us through the woods for several hundred yards, and through and old field, through which a ravine and also the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad ran, within which and behind the embankment of the railroad the enemy took refuge. At these points they were beyond the reach of our small-arms. We pursued no farther than the edge of this field. But before reaching their safe retreat, while they passed through the woods and field, hundreds of them paid the penalty with their lives for their rash act of invasion and wicked occupation of an unoffending country. The marks on the arms and equipments picked up on the field from which we drove the enemy, as well as the statements of prisoners captured, show conclusively that the brigade or division which we fought was regular troops.

By your direction, the entire brigade halted at the edge of the field, for at the time, and all the time of our advance, through the woods, there appeared no support upon our left. It is believed if a battery could have been put in position near the point occupied by my left, the enemy could have been shelled from their shelter in the ravine and behind the railroad, and the day might thus have been more completely ours. Six or eighth thousand men seemed to be striving for the mastery, in confusion, in this field, and would have been easily driven into the woods beyond.

But a battery was out of the question, for we could scarcely get through parts of the woods through which we came. We remained in position here until near night, when we retired with the brigade to the rear a few hundred yards, for rest.

We moved back to the front each succeeding day, keeping skirmishers in front near the edge of the field for three days, but no casualties or engagement of note further occurred until we moved with the brigade in retreat on the evacuation on Sunday morning.

In the engagement my men captured about 50 prisoners, who were sen to the rear. We also brought from the field about three hundred guns besides our own, some of the men bringing off three.

The loss of the regiment in killed and wounded was 136, as will appear from the accompanying report* of my adjutant. My major (Rufus A. Jarnigan) was mortally wounded while leading the left wing in a charge. Captain [J. G.] Frazier, Company D, was killed instantly at the head of his company. Lieutenant [S. G.] Abernathy fell at this post.


*Not found, but see Numbers 191, p. 676.