War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0848 KY.,MID.AND E.TENN.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.

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Lieutenant-Colonel [John E.] Murray, of the Fifth Arkansas, bore the colors of his regiment through the hottest of the fight, and by his own bright example encouraged his men to despise danger.

J. K. Leslie, a brave and intelligent private of Company C, of this regiment, captured of regulars. This flag I also herewith transmit.

The enemy gave way and fled, leaving a large number of dead behind him. Johnson's, Smith's, and Polk's brigades moved rapidly in pursuit, obliquing to the left as they advanced. Liddell rapidly reformed his line and followed, en echelon, about 100 yards in rear of Johnson. My orders, frequently received from General Hardee during the day, being to push the enemy, and, if possible, give him no time to rally or select positions, I did not halt the division or lose any time in rectifying distances or alignments. The line had not advanced a quarter of a mile when a fresh line of the enemy was discovered in open fields. He was supported by numerous and well-served batteries. At this time I had but one battery [Liddell's]. Polk's could not follow through the heavy woods and Johnson's had been ordered by General Hardee to remain in reserve near the Wilkinson pike. My line advanced steadily, pouring in a deadly fire, and drove the enemy across a small dirt road. That portion of his line opposite Johnson rallied behind a fence on the far side of the dirt road, but was driven from there also, when his whole line disappeared in the cedar woods, which here border the Nashville pike, and were close behind him. Still another line of small-arms was immediately directed upon him. He fled back in the woods, leaving the ground in front of Johnson's brigade thickly covered with dead and wounded. Following up their success, our men gained the edge of the cedars-Johnson's brigade capturing a battery of Parrott guns-and were almost on the Nashville turnpike, in rear of the original center of Rosecrans' army, sweeping with their fire his only line of communication with Nashville; but it was now after 3 o'clock; my men had had little or no rest the night before; they had been fighting since dawn, without relief, food, or water; they were comparatively without the support of artillery, for the advance had been too rapid to enable my single battery to get in position and answer the enemy; their ammunition was again nearly exhausted, and our ordnance trains could not follow.

At this critical moment the enemy met my thinned ranks with another fresh line of battle, supported by a heavier and closer artillery fire than I had yet encountered. A report also spread, which I believe was true, that we were flanked on the right. This was more than our men could stand. Smith's brigade was driven back in great confusion. Polk's and Johnson's followed. As our broken ranks went back over the fields before the fire of this fresh line, the enemy opened fire on our right flank from several batteries which they had concentrated on an eminence near the railroad, inflicting a heavier loss on Polk's brigade than it had suffered in all the previous fighting of the day. The division was rallied on the edge of the opposite woods, about 400 yards in rear of the scene of disaster, though some of the men could not be stopped until they reached the Wilkinson pike. Liddell's brigade, en echelon on my extreme lett, was not engaged in this last fight and was moved back in good order to the line where the other brigade rallied. Here I reformed my division as rapidly as possible, Polk's brigade on the right, Johnson's in the center, and Liddell's on the left. A fresh supply of ammunition was served out, and I waited in momentary expectation for an advance of the enemy in overwhelming force. He never advanced a foot, and the question