presented itself, Ought I to again advance? I was now in possession of 3 miles of ground conquered from the enemy, large numbers of prisoners, cannon, and small-arms. Another repulse, and I might lose all these and cause the demoralization and destruction of my division. I immediately reported the situation to General Hardee, and was ordered by him to hold the ground I had won, rest, and reorganize my division and await further orders. Pushing my pickets well forward, I bivouacked in line of battle on the same line which the division rallied on after the repulse.
On the morning of January 1, there were rumors that the enemy was retreating. I was ordered by General Hardee to push forward, feel the enemy, and ascertain the true state of affairs in our front. Liddell's brigade was moved forward and to the left, and drove the enemy's skirmishers back at least a quarter of a mile, and beyond a white house used as a Federal hospital, and situated on the small dirt road near which our last fight of the day before occurred.
During this fight Lieutenant-Colonel [F. J.] Cameron, Sixth and Seventh Arkansas Regiment, was wounded.
Liddell again swept the Nashville turnpike with his artillery, and greatly disturbed the enemy's trains, which could be seen on and near it. Receiving another message from General Hardee to the effect that he had ordered me to feel the enemy, and could not hear my guns, and at the same time receiving information from General Liddell that he was in line of battle near the hospital just mentioned, and needed immediate support on his right, I ordered General Wood to move his brigade forward cautiously, and support Liddell on the right, but I also informed him that the object was merely to ascertain whether the enemy was still in force in our front, not to bring on a general battle. Wood's brigade moved forward, and I moved Johnson's skirmishers forward en echelon on Wood's brigade formed line close to the dirt road last mentioned, and immediately became hotly engaged with a very large force of the enemy, which advanced on him out of the cedars where our repulse of the day before occurred. He found that Liddell was not on his left, as expected, having previously fallen back; he also discovered that the enemy were flanking him on the left with another heavy force. At this time he received an order direct from General Hardee not to bring on a general battle. He ceased firing and fell back, leaving several killed and wounded on the ground. Some of the men of the Forty-fifth Mississippi Regiment had gone so far ahead that retreat was impossible; they remained where they were, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Wood must have lost nearly 100 killed, wounded, and prisoners in this fight. It was now clear the enemy was still in force in my front, and I so reported it.
On Friday morning, January 2, I was satisfied that the enemy was fortifying his position. On consultation with my brigade commanders, I addressed a note to General Hardee, which I requested him to forward to General Bragg, stating this important fact, and that I feared, if my single, and now reduced, line was pushed on the enemy in his fortified position, the result would prove very disastrous, but that I believed I could hold a defensible position against any assault of the enemy.
Semple's battery rejoined me on the 1st. On the 2nd, Friday evening, I was ordered to send four of his guns to support an attack about to be made by Major-General Breckinridge's division. My acting chief of artillery, Captain Hotchkiss, having been twice wounded while gallantly discharging his duty, I ordered him to quit the field [which he reluctantly
54 R R-VOL XX. PT I