The several regiments of my brigade moved gallantly and steadily forward in this charge, although exposed to a terrible fire from Yankee artillery for a distance of 400 yards across an open and unprotected field. The movement was successful on our part. The Federal forces abandoned their ground, retreating westwardly back on the main body of their troops, where their position was strongly protected by embankments thrown up in the construction of the railroad, some natural elevations of the ground, and the cover of their artillery. On these accounts we did not pursue them farther.
A list* of the killed and wounded in this engagement has already been furnished, which I respectfully ask may be taken as a part of this report.
In this action both the men and officers of the brigade behaved with most becoming courage and gallantry, displaying a high degree of unfaltering determination and bravery, now mentioned alike in justice to them and with the utmost satisfaction to myself.
At 1 o'clock on the following morning, under orders from General Breckinridge, I recrossed the river and returned to my former position. Nothing occurred on Thursday except slight skirmishing in my front and occasional shelling from the enemy.
At about 10 o'clock on Friday, February [January] 2, under directions from General Breckinridge, I strengthened my line of skirmishers and ordered them forward, under command of Lieut. Col. Alexander Hall, of the Forty-fifth Tennessee. Major Graves was also ordered forward with a few pieces of artillery, which were supported by the left companies of the Eighteenth Tennessee, under command of Capt. William H. Joyner. They soon encountered a very heavy line of Federal skirmishers, and, after a severe contest, drove them back, with a loss of 2 killed and 11 wounded on our part. The enemy's loss was ascertained to be much greater, both in killed and wounded. Shortly after this, General Pillow assumed command of the brigade, whereupon I took charge of my regiment.
In the skirmish on Friday morning Lieutenant-Colonel Hall bore himself with decided gallantry. The men and officers under him acted nobly. Throughout the period covered by this report, Captains C. K. Vanderford, Natt, Gooch, D. H. C. Spence, F. H. Lytle, and James S. Barton, of my staff, were all prompt, gallant, and efficient in the discharge of their several duties. I am also much indebted to each of these officers for many acts of personal kindness and voluntary services.
I conclude this report with the remark that, in consequence of wounds received in the right leg, knee, and shoulder, in the engagement of Friday evening at Murfreesborough, it has not been possible for me to prepare it earlier; and with the request that it be now received and considered. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. PALMER,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade.
Col. T. O'HARA,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Tullahoma, Tenn.
WINCHESTER, TENN., February 6, 1863.
SIR: In the battle of Friday, February [January] 2, at Murfreesborough, the Eighteenth Tennessee Regiment, numbering 430 for duty,
*Embodied in No. 191, p.678.