those were the only orders I got to alter my position or otherwise change the location of my brigades during the afternoon and night of December 30, 1862, it follows positively that I did not fail to execute an order for a slight or any order change in the line of my division during the night previous to the battle of Murfreesborough. As I placed McNair's brigade on the ground pointed out to me by General Cheatham for that purpose by General Hardee's order, I am not responsible for any misapprehension of my superior in reference thereto. I believed (and so expressed myself at the time) that there was some misconception as to the nature of the ground, and naturally felt desirous of placing the responsibility of any arising therefrom upon those whose duty it was to bear it.
If the attack was delayed, as alleged (which I deny), that delay does not rest on my shoulder. General Bragg, in the paper marked B, says, "The attack was ordered to be made at daylight (dawn), which was then 5 o'clock." This differs materially from the written order which I received from Lieutenant-General Hardee. That order is as follows:
HEADQUARTERS HARDEE'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, December 30,-10 p.m.
Major-General McCOWN, Commanding Division:
GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Hardee directs that you hold your command in readiness to move the enemy at daylight. He will be present the movement. The general will see you and General Cleburne at 5.45 a.m. at the house on the left of Rains' position-Cleburne's headquarters.
T. B. ROY,
Chief of Staff.
In this you will see that I am not ordered to commence the attack at daylight (dawn), but to hold myself in readiness "to move upon the enemy at daylight." Now, this plainly is not an order to attack at 5 o'clock, for by it General Hardee directs me to meet him at General Cleburne's headquarters at 5.45 o'clock, which I did, and there received my final orders before commencing the movement upon the enemy. He could not heave intended me to attack the enemy three-quarters of an hour before the time appointed by himself for giving me my final instructions for the conduct of that back. Therefore, if General Bragg issued orders for the attack to commence at 5 o'clock, as he intimates in the paper marked B, General Hardee must have been unaware of them; and the first and only knowledge I have of them is contained in said paper, marked B, written to me long after the battle of Murfreesborough. I was with General Hardee near the hour of 5.45 a.m., as directed by his order, received from him any final instructions, and attacked the enemy about 6 o'clock. That I did so fully appears from the enemy about 6 o'clock. That I did so fully appears from the inclosed note of Capt. R. E. Foote, marked G, from the inclosed letters of Generals McNair and Ector, and from the official reports of my subordinates. These papers establish, beyond controversy, that I commenced the attack about 6 o'clock. The sun rose that morning in the latitude of Murfreesborough at from 7.04 to 7.10 o'clock, which brought daylight about 6 o'clock, thus making unvarying nature a witness to the fact that I moved to the attack at the appointed time and without delay.
But, admitting the absurdity that nature on the morning of December 31, 1862, was untrue to herself, and brought daylight at 5 o'clock, you will see that it was impossible for me to commence the attack at that hour, or any sooner that I did, for, by direction of General Hardee, under whose immediate command I was acting, I had to meet him only a few minutes before 6 o'clock to get my final orders for commencing and carrying on the conflict. When I commenced the attack it was