for the third time. He was again posted in a dense cedar brake. From this position our men drove him. At this point the slaughter seemed to be greater than any other. We drove the enemy out of the woos and across a field, under cover of a large number of guns which he had collected at this point. The fire from his artillery became very annoying, and the men took shelter in the timber. By direction of Major-General Cleburne, I sent forward about 100 sharpshooters to pick off his horses and cannoneers, but they could not cover themselves from the fire of his whole line of infantry, and were forced back to the edge of the field.
About this time Colonel [A. J.] Vughan, [jr.,] came up with his brigade, and I directed it in position on my left. It had a sharp contest with the enemy, driving him back.
My men, as reported by their colonels, having expended their ammunition, I formed them in rear of the cedar brake and collected parts of several regiments, which had become separated from their commands, to wit, about 100 men of the Forty-fifth Alabama, under Lieutenant-Colonel [J. G.] Gilchrist; about 70 of the First Louisiana Infantry, under a captain; a part of a Mississippi regiment of another corps, all of which I conducted to the wood near our ammunition wagons.
At this point I received notice from a staff officer that our left was certainly threatened by the enemy's cavalry and infantry, which I immediately communicated to Lieutenant-General Hardee, who ordered me to take a position and protect our ordnance trains. I ordered the trains to move between my line and Murfreesborough, and threw out a strong picket about 500 yards in advance, facing our left flank, and bivouacked for the night.
Early the next morning I retook my position in line of battle immediately in rear of the cedar brake, where our last fight with the enemy occurred, Brigadier-General Liddell on my left and Brigadier-General Johnson on my right. We remained in line of battle-our skirmishers fighting frequently in front and the enemy shelling the woods at sundown-during the day.
About 2 o'clock I was ordered by Major-General Cleburne to move my brigade forward to a white house, which it had been ascertained the enemy had used as a hospital, to develop his lines and ascertain his force. As soon as we had shown ourselves in the field, a terrific fire of shell, grape, shot, and minie balls fell around us. The brigade pressed on, firing. As soon as it reached a depression in the ground, near the hospital, it was ordered to halt and lie down. The order was obeyed; but in a few moments a part of the Forty-fifth Mississippi, which was on the right, advanced beyond the general line to some out-houses-perhaps for protection. The enemy's whole line opened upon us, and a brigade of four large regiments began to move around our left flank. Our line was now vertical to the general line of our forces and three-quarters of a mile in advance.
Riding to the right to acquaint Major-General Cleburne of these facts, I met Captain White, of Lieutenant-General Hardee's staff, who informed me that the general desired that no general action should be brought on. I immediately ordered the brigade to fall back, passing over the crest of a hill to the rear. This movement was executed in good order, though the command suffered severely from the fire of the enemy, and about 60 men refusing to come back, were left in the hands of the enemy. The brigade was now permitted by the major-general, in consequence of its recent fatiguing duties, to retire to Stone's River, cook rations, and rest for the night.