I lay, inactive, in line of battle until the evening of the 30th, when I received orders to move from the right to the left of the army. Arriving at the fording place on Stone's River, I received orders to remain there until General Hardee had examined the ground and determined my position. It was dark when staff officers were sent to order me forward and show me my position. The passage of the river in the night was attended with many difficulties, and my whole division was not in position before midnight. As well as I could judge from the camp-fires, my line was a prolongation to the left of Cheatham's line, and was 400 or 500 yards in rear of McCown's division.
Soon after midnight I received an order from General Hardee, on which I based and issued the following circular, viz:
Generals of brigades will have their respective commands in readiness to move upon the enemy at 4.30 o'clock this morning. The several commands will fall into line without signal of bugle or drum.
Before daylight I formed line, placing Polk's brigade, with Calvert's battery, on the right; Johnson's brigade, with Darden's battery, in the center, and Liddell's brigade, with the Warren Light Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant [H.] Shannon, on the left. Wood's brigade I placed a short distance in rear of Polk's. This brigade had no battery in the fight, its battery [Semple's, of six Napoleon guns] having been detached the day before to support Hanson's brigade, of Breckinridge's division, and having remained with that brigade on the right of the army.
On account of the absence on duty of my chief of artillery, I ordered my chief of ordnance [Captain [T. R.] Hotchkiss] to act as chief of artillery, and Robert [D.] Smith, ordnance officer of Polk's brigade, to act as division ordnance officer.
It was not yet clear day when I received orders from General Hardee to advance. Swinging to the right as I moved forward, I rapidly communicated these instructions to brigade commanders, caused my division to load, and moved forward, stepping short upon the right and full upon the left, so as to swing round my left as directed. General Cheatham's left did not move forward at the same moment as my right, and my division, inclining to the left as it advanced, a gap was soon left between us, which General Hardee directed General Wood's brigade to fill. My whole division [Semple's battery excepted] was now advancing in line of battle, gradually wheeling to the right as it advanced. My left had not moved half a mile when heavy firing commenced near its front, supposed to be McCown's division engaging the enemy. A few moments more, and the enemy's skirmishers opened fire along the right and left center of my division, indicating that instead of being a second line supporting McCown's division, I was, in reality, the foremost line on this part of the field, and that McCown's line had unaccountably disappeared from my front. Skirmishers were immediately thrown forward, and I pressed on, continuing the difficult wheel under fire, through a country cut up with numerous fences and thickets. There was a great deal of crowding and improper opening out in the center of my line. Polk's and Johnson's brigades had to be moved by the flank more than once to regain their true positions. Driving back the enemy's skirmishers in the face of a heavy fire of shot and shell, I encountered his first solid line of battle at an average distance of three fourths of a mile from the scene of my bivouac of last night. The left of this line [opposite Wood's and Polk's brigades] stretched through a large cedar brake; the right [opposite Liddell's and Johnson's] through open ground. In many parts of