form your line with two divisions only, holding the third in reserve. Let your men get their meals; supply themselves well with water. Throw back a line of skirmishers on your left flank for some distance down the creek; reconnoiter carefully, and ascertain if there are good fords. The line of Stone's River down to the Jefferson Bridge must be observed well with cavalry; the ford at Sulphur Spring occupied by a regiment of infantry, and, if easy of access, with two pieces of artillery, they to come from reserve division. Try and place your lines so that the enemy cannot slip out on the other side of Stone's River, and enfilade them. Post a strong line of sharpshooters on the bank of the river, supported by a brigade, probably, along the line of the railroad. General Negley has been ordered to take post on your right. General McCook has been ordered to close in on the Wilkinson pike. Thomas has been ordered to send a brigade of Rousseau's division to Jefferson, to reconnoiter as far as Dr. Black's shop.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. GARESCHE,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
December 29, 1862.
Commanding Left Wing:
Occupy Murfreesborough, if you can, with one division. Encamp main body of troops on this side, as before directed.
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING, December 29, 1862-5.25 p.m.
Chief of Staff:
COLONEL: Your dispatch is just received, in which you say occupy Murfreesborough to-night with one division, &c., as before directed. No such order has been received before. The order was given as you directed, the troops were advancing, but just at this point General Palmer and General Wood have ridden up and protest against it as very hazardous to move troops in the night, unacquainted with the ground, against troops in position. A good citizen, who is just now here, says if we were not opposed by the enemy, the crossing of Stone's River is so difficult we should have trouble in crossing. Under these circumstances, believing, if you were here, you would not order and advance, and as it will not get any darker, and I can communicate with you in an hour, I have concluded to suspend your order until I can again hear from you. If ordered to move, I will instantly execute it, but consider it impossible to take the artillery, and suggest that it should be left.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. L. CRITTENDEN,