War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0947 Chapter XXXII. THE STONE'S RIVER CAMPAIGN.

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changed my front from a north to a northeasterly direction. This change of front threw the left of the division nearer to the enemy's line, which appeared afterward to run east and west, and, approaching a dense thicket of cedars, I ordered skirmishers to be thrown rapidly forward, to prevent anything like an ambuscade to our already jaded troops. Almost simultaneously that my skirmishers entered the thicket, Ector's brigade, on our left, became warmly engaged, and I received a message from him by Major [F. M.] Spencer, urging me to press forward as rapidly as possible. No time was now to be lost, as the enemy had evidently made this their last stand-point, and had opened upon us with artillery and musketry. Almost simultaneously with General Ector's request, I received an order from the major-general commanding to charge the batteries. The order was immediately repeated to the command, and, flushed with success and buoyant with hope, they rushed forward to accomplish more brilliant results. The growth through which the right was compelled to pass rendered it impossible to keep an unbroken line, but still they pushed forward. But the position proved too strong for the two gallant little brigades, the enemy having some five batteries in position, strongly supported by three long lines of infantry, and after one of the most brilliant charges that history records they were overwhelmed and compelled to fall back, not, however, until they had succeeded in driving a large portion of the infantry from their position and compelling the gunners of at least one battery to retire. I should have mentioned, however, when the firing became heaviest, and I found that one or more batteries on our extreme right were severely enfilading us, that I sent Captain [Mr. James] Stone, of General McNair's staff, and urged Major-General Cleburne or Brigadier-General Polk to move up rapidly on our right, so as to cover the enemy's front and remove the galling fire from our flank. This movement, however, was not made in time to assist us, and after ten or twelve minutes of the severest fighting it has ever been my lost to witness we were compelled to fall back with heavy loss. After rallying and reforming the brigade, they were allowed to rest under the crest of a hill some 500 or 600 yards from the scene of the late fighting, having been under a continuous fire for nearly seven hours, and having driven the enemy with impetuosity for 4 1/2 to 5 miles.

The loss, which had been heavy in three previous charges of the morning, was still greater at this point, our ranks being almost at decimated before our troops could be forced to retire. Here fell, badly wounded, MajorL. M. Ramsur, commanding First Arkansas Rifles, while gallantly leading his regiment to the desperate charge. Major [James J.] Franklin, commanding Thirtieth Arkansas Volunteers, while cheering his soldiers to new deeds of daring, was severely wounded and fell into the hands of the enemy.

We were permitted to rest here for three-quarters of an hour, when I was ordered to move by the right flank, and took position, in obedience to instructions, in a cedar brake, where the brigade remained in line of battle, without any noticeable casualties, until we were withdrawn.

I cannot close without paying a tribute to the field officers and officers of the line, and the gallant spirits who compose their commands. Each seemed to vie with the other in deeds of daring and where all exerted themselves so strenuously it is impossible to discriminate. The color-bearers along the whole line more than once elicited my admiration by the steadiness with which the Bonnie Blue Flag was constantly borne in the front line.

Capt. R. E. Foote, assistant adjutant-general, Third Brigade, had