ville turnpike and railroad against the center of the enemy, passing in the direction of the burnt brick building known as the Cowan house. The brigade of Jackson passed by those of Chalmers and Donelson in the direction of the Cowan house, while Adams', extending toward the river, attacked the enemy between 1 and 2 o'clock. A desperate struggle for a passage down the Nashville road ensued just before Cleburne became engaged against their right, 2 miles farther on. The force was unequal to the task. It recoiled after a loss of one-third of the command.
A short time after, Preston and Palmer were ordered to cross the ford, to continue the same movement, and Hanson's brigade alone remained on the east side of Stone's River. They reached the ground just after Jackson and Adams were repulsed, General Adams having been wounded while gallantly conducting his brigade. They were quickly formed under the immediate command of Major-General Breckinridge, and moved across the plain in fine order under the fire of the enemy's artillery.
Many men and officers were killed along the line, the principal loss falling upon Preston's brigade. The Twentieth Tennessee, of Preston's brigade, vainly endeavored near the river to carry a battery, and, after a heavy loss, including their gallant commander, Colonel T. B. Smith, who was severely wounded, was compelled to fall back under cover. Palmer, being farther on the left, suffered but little. The remaining regiments of Preston's brigade, encountered great difficulty in passing the fences and pickets at the Cowan house, and, being exposed to an enfilading fire of infantry and artillery at short range, were thrown into some confusion. They were soon rallied, and, rushing forward with cheers across the intervening space, entered the cedar brakes in front.
At 4 o'clock our line was almost parallel with the Nashville turnpike for about 2 miles, stretching from the point of woods near the Cowan house toward Overall's Creek. Preston occupied the extreme right of my line, and the divisions of Cleburne and McCown extended northwest, almost parallel with the railroad. Liddell's brigade formed the extreme left. The enemy occupied the ground northwest of the railroad, lying between it and Stone's River, toward Nashville. Here they massed a vast strength of artillery and infantry. Their right had been completely turned, crushed, and beaten back for more than 3 miles. Great confusion prevailed, but their strength was still such that we could not undertake to force the position without unwise hazard. We had lost nearly a third of the commands engaged. If, at the moment when the enemy were driven from the thick woods north of the Wilkinson turnpike, a fresh division could have replaced Cleburne's exhausted troops and followed up the victory, the rout of Rosecrans' army would have been complete. The interval required to collect and reform our lines, now shattered by four successive conflicts, was occupied by the enemy in planting heavy batteries and massing fresh columns of infantry to oppose our further advance. I sent for re-enforcements. The commanding general replied he had none to give me. Hanson's brigade alone remained fresh and unsought. The enemy lay beyond the range of our guns, securely sheltered behind the strong defense of the railroad embankment, with wide, open fields intervening, which were swept by their superior artillery. It would have been folly, not valor, to assail them in this position. I gave the won, and to bivouac for the night.
During the day the men and officers of my command had displayed the most splendid courage. Twenty-three pieces of cannon and more than 4,000 prisoners, with a corresponding number of small-arms, rewarded their valor. With 12,000 men of all arms, we had driven back