Fourth Arkansas Battalion in the battle of Murfreesborough, Tenn., fought on December 31, 1862:
Just at daybreak the battalion, in line of battle with the other regiments forming the brigade, moved upon the enemy.
After marching across the field for some half mile to the fence, a brisk fire opened between the skirmishers in the cedar brake immediately in our front.
At this time, observing a disposition among the men to fire at long range, I ordered them to hold their fire. The command moved briskly forward through the brush until within 100 yards of the enemy's line of battle, when a most destructive fire was poured into the enemy's ranks. After a short resistance, the enemy fled, leaving his dead and wounded and several pieces of artillery upon the field. I pushed forward the battalion in pursuit of the retreating foe, crossing a field and several fences. After crossing the last fence, our line of battle became disordered in getting through a very dense cedar thicket which intervened. Upon emerging from the thicket, I could only see a portion of the left wing of the battalion. With this I continued to push forward in the original direction of the line of battle, and, uniting with the Second Brigade, under command of Brigadier-General Ector, pursued the fleeing enemy for the distance of some 4 miles, until recalled by Capt. R. E. Foote. Upon returning to the brigade, I learned that the right wing of the battalion, under command of Lieutenants [E. D.] McLaughin and [J. S.] Dougan, had assisted in a second brilliant and successful charge.
At this point the battalion was furnished with a fresh supply of ammunition, and again moved forward upon the enemy. The line swept forward through the forest for the distance of a mile, when it reached the foot of a ridge extending to the right and left as far as I could see, the side of which was covered with a dense undergrowth, in place almost impenetrable. Here the fires of three heavy batteries were opened upon us. Nothing daunted, the line moved steadily forward, halting and reforming twice in the midst of a shower of bursting shells, grape, and canister. When within 50 yards of the brow of the hill the command was given to charge. It was most gallantly executed. The men, with an infuriated yell, rushed to the top of the hill. A short, sharp contest ensued, when the enemy's line of infantry began to give way; but the enemy's batteries, being entirely protected by the nature of their position, continued to pour showers of grape and canister into our already more than decimated ranks. It was impossible for men to withstand such a fire from an unseen foe, and reluctantly the battalion with the rest of the brigade retired.
This was the last action in which the battalion was engaged. After felling back some distance, the battalion reformed, moved farther to the right, and lay upon the battle-field during the night.
It is with pride that I call attention to the fact the men of my battalion took as deliberate as if engaged in target practice, each shot telling with fearful effect, as will be seen by an examination of the ground occupied by the battalion during the engagement. Never before have I seen such a reckless disregard of life exhibited. Where all fought so well comparison would be odious.
In the first charge the flag-staff was shot in two and the right arm of Color-Sergt. Joseph R. Perry so paralyzed that the flag fell from his hand. Sergt. J. C. Davis, of Company A, immediately snatched up the colors and bore them gallantly forward until Sergeant Perry recovered from the shock and resumed his position.