HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, McCOWN'S DIVISION, Camp Harper,
---- --, 1863.
GENERAL: In reply to your inquiry, I have the honor to state that on the evening of December 30, about sundown, your ordered me to move my brigade about 200 yards in advance of the line of battle then occupied by me, and also in advance of a strip of woods that extended immediately in front of the original line, which order was executed and a new line of battle formed a little after dark. I then occupied the right of your division, about 300 yards from the enemy's pickets. This position was taken, as I understood, for the purpose of attacking the enemy at daylight the next morning. On the morning of the 31st, by your direction, I moved my brigade forward, and, in connection with the First and Second Brigades, of your division, attacked the enemy. This was about 6 a.m.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ECTOR'S BRIGADE, McCOWN'S DIVISION, Shelbyville, Tenn., May 9, 1863.
Major General JOHN P. McCOWN:
DEAR SIR: In reply to your letter of May 7, written from Chattanooga, I state that Rains, McNair's, and my brigades were formed in line of battle, and that these three brigades advanced together at the battle of Murfreesborough on December 31, at about 6.606 a.m. General McNair's brigade during the night was moved forward considerably in advance of the position it had occupied during the latter part of the evening before,with its right resting on the Triune road. If it had been moved up on a line with my brigade at the time it first changed its position (from what I know of the enemy's position, and no one had a better opportunity of knowing this than I had), I am confident its movements could not have been concealed from the enemy, and it would, in all probability, have brought on a fight during the night.
I am, sir, yours, very respectfully,
M. D. ECTOR.
NEWNAN, GA., May 4, 1863.
Major General JOHN P. McCOWN,
SIR: In compliance with your request, I take pleasure in stating what I know in reference to the movements made by General McNair's brigade on Tuesday night, December 30, 1862.
Returning from General Cheatham's headquarters about 8 o'clock that night, I noticed troops moving forward. I ascertained it was General McNair's brigade moving up near the line occupied by the balance of the division. The first regiment was established a little in advance of Mr. Smith's house, the right resting on the Triune road near a pile of rails and other timbers which had been thrown out of the way during the day. From my knowledge of the enemy's position I do not think the brigade could have been moved upon a line with the other brigades of the division without encountering the enemy's pickets, and probably