War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0765 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

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reached, upon which he was now industriously planting artillery and apparently massing heavy forces of infantry. Our second line had come up and occupied the edge of the forest near the open field. It was growing late in the evening, and advance across the open field, where the enemy would have decided advantage, was not deemed advisable. Indeed, after resting a while to collect stragglers and replenish cartridge-boxes, and having become satisfied that my first apprehensions of an effort on the part of the enemy to repossess themselves of the forest was not well founded, a staff officer was sent to Major General Withers, commanding the division, suggesting that, with his consent, I would withdraw my brigade to its original position, where the troops could better recover from their exhaustion, and abstain that rest which they so much needed. He returned soon with the reply that the major-general approved the moved. Accordingly, about sundown the brigade resumed its position of the morning, leaving the troops of the second line in position at the far edge of the cedar brake, confronting the enemy's line.

We remained here during the night, but moved forward at an early hour the next morning by order of Major-General Withers, and by his direction had begun to deploy the column on the right of the line then formed in the woods, when Colonel Brantly, of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi, informed me that, by continuing the deployment, much of the line would be exposed to a severe fire from the batteries last above alluded to. I communicated this to General Withers, who directed me to withdraw the line to a position in rear of the second (now become the first) line, near where the batteries had been taken on the day before.

We remained in this new position until about noon of this day (January 1), when, by order of Lieutenant-General Polk, we were conducted by one of his staff officers to the position originally occupied by Brigadier-General Donelson's command, in front of Stone's River, and stretching from Wilkinson pike, on the left, to the railroad, on the right.

At an early hour next morning we moved up by order of Major-General Withers, and took the position at first occupied by Brigadier-General Chalmers' brigade. I was soon ordered across Stone's River, to the right, for the purpose of supporting Major-General Breckinridge's division, upon whom it had been reported the enemy were moving. When the two right regiments of the brigade had succeeded in getting across the river, the order, so far the other three were concerned, was countermanded, and they were directed to resume their positions in Chalmers' old place, and before I had reached General Breckinridge with the two right regiments, an order was received to return and join the balance of the brigade. Soon after resuming Chalmers' position with the whole brigade, the Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel McKelvaine, was detached, by order of Lieutenant-General Polk, and sent forward to support Scott's battery, then posted on our front line. This was about 2 p.m. January 2. About 4 p.m. I was ordered by the general commanding to hasten with my brigade to the support of General Breckinridge, on the opposite side of the river from where I then was. Not being familiar with that part of the field, Lieutenant-Colonel G. W. Brent, of General Bragg's staff, was directed to conduct me to the desired position.

The troops deserve much credit for the alacrity with which they moved, having waded the river and pushed forward at a double-quick for more than a mile to the scene of Breckinridge's bloody conflict. Darkness had separated the combatants when I reached the spot. A staff officer had been previously sent forward to report to General Breckinridge my