and utterly routed McCook's corps, ascertained by his captured returns to have been 18,000 strong, several brigades and divisions which it is known were sent to his support.
For 3 miles in our rear, amid the thick cedars and the open fields, where the Federal lines had been originally formed, their dead and their dying, their hospitals, and the wreck of that portion of their army marked our victorious advance. Our bivouac fires were lighted at night within 500 yards of the railroad embankment which their disordered battalions sought shelter.
Wednesday night was clear and cold. The armies maintained their relative positions. Some picket skirmishing occurred during the night. No action of importance nor material change of position occurred until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon of Friday, January 2. The commanding general, anxious to secure a position on the east bank of the river, from which he could enfilade the lines of the enemy, ordered Major-General Breckinridge, with his entire division, to seize a hill about 1,600 yards in front of the position occupied by Hanson's brigade. At 4 o'clock the division moved forward. It swept over the crest of the hill, routing a division of the enemy, who fled in disorder across the stream, after leaving many killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our men pursued them with great ardor. A division reported to be that of General J. S. Negley, and a brigade under General Porter Palmer, held the opposite side of the river. This fresh poured a withering fire from an advantageous position upon our men. Breckinridge's division, after a bloody struggle not exceeding forty minutes, in which at least 1,200 men were killed and wounded, was repulsed. Many brave men and able officers fell in the attack. Among the latter Brigadier-General R. W. Hanson, a spirited and intrepid officer, was mortally wounded early in the action. As this movement was made without my knowledge, and under the immediate supervision of Major-General Breckinridge, I refer to his report for details.
Friday night, the commanding general, apprehending an attack on our right, east of Stone's River, ordered me to withdraw Cleburne's and McClown's divisions from the left, and to place them in their original positions-the former in rear of Breckinridge's line, the latter in reserve. These divisions did not get into position until late that night. Cold and drenching rain set in and continued throughout the succeeding day. The enemy manifested no disposition to attack, but our troops, being worn down by the hardships of their winter bivouacs and the exhaustion of battle, and the commanding general having received information that the enemy were being largely re-enforce, he determined to retire.
In obedience to his orders, on the morning of January 4, I withdrew my command by the Manchester road to Tullahoma, in good order and without molestation.
It is worthy of remark that at Murfreesborough, whenever the fight was confined principally to musketry, and the enemy had no advantage in artillery, we were successful. It was only when they had massed heavy batteries, under cover of the railroad embankments, that we were repulsed. In every form of contest in which mechanical instruments, requiring skill and heavy machinery to make them, can be used, the Federals are our superiors. In every form of contest in which manly courage, patient endurance, and brave impulse are the qualities and conditions necessary to success, we have invariably been successful. Long-range cannon and improved projectiles can be made only by great mechanical skill, heavy machinery and abundant resources. The enemy is, therefore, superior in artillery. Infantry constitutes the great arm of the service, and its appointments and equipments are simple. The