In the mean time the Twenty-ninth North Carolina and Eleventh Tennessee, after continuing the engagement for some time, found their ammunition exhausted, and accordingly retired to get supplied and to recover the line fully. Here again the Twenty-ninth [North Carolina] and Eleventh Tennessee became separated, as, through a mistake, the commands went to different points for ammunition. From [Lieutenant]-Colonel [William] Thedford's report (Colonel Gordon having been wounded in the cedar thicket), I learn that after getting the cartridge-boxes filled they went in with General Liddell's brigade and sustained heavy loss in a severe action, capturing several pieces, which they were compelled to abandon for want of support.
The Twenty-ninth North Carolina also returned to the field, and were ordered to attack a brigade of the enemy which was trying to flank General McNair. The command moved across the open field, being exposed to a raking fire from the enemy's battery near by; but meeting General McNair's brigade coming out, the command was ordered to join it, which it did in the woods to the rear, where they were also joined by the Eleventh Tennessee.
Receiving orders to obey the orders of Colonel Harper, I joined my two regiments to General McNair's brigade, and we were moved on the new line of battle, constituting General McCown's right, on General Cheatham's left. Here we lay in line of battle until Friday night, January 2, occasionally skirmishing in front and constantly expecting the attack to be renewed.
From the report of First Lieut. W. A. McDuffie, Eufaula Light Artillery, I learn that his battery was engaged with the enemy for an hour on December 30, and that he was the ordered to take position in front of his own (Second) brigade (he having been supporting Robertson's battery), but could not do so for want of ammunition, which was supplied during the night.
On Wednesday (31st) he was ordered to the front, and took position near the Nolensville pike, but was not engaged; Second Lieutenant [W. J.] McKenzie was ordered to take position with two pieces on the extreme left, with General Buford. Here he was engaged on the 31st for two hours, co-operating with General Wheeler's cavalry. The report speaks of the conduct of the men.
From all that I saw, and have sine heard, of the conduct of the troops on the field, I fell that I cannot speak too highly of them. The ground charged over first and last was quite 5 miles, and the time occupied in the charge three and three-quarters hours.
The field and staff officers of the different commands, and the brigade staff officers, behaved nobly, and have surely merited high favors at the hands of their country.
It is perhaps unnecessary to speak further of General Rains. His gallantry and daring exposure of himself was certainly not surpassed upon the field. Peace to his ashes.
As coming under my own eye, I beg to mention Adjt. J. E. Hoey, of the Twenty-ninth North Carolina, who behaved with extraordinary courage upon the field, encouraging the men by word and deed.
Several officers had their horses killed.
For the casualties* of the command I refer you to report of killed, wounded, and missing.
ROBT. B. VANCE,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade, Army of Tennessee.
Major [H. S.] BRADFORD,
*Embodied in No. 191,p.681.