Numbers 4. Report of Colonel Albert S. Hall, One hundred and fifth Ohio Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. 2nd BRIGADE, 5TH DIVISION, 14TH ARMY CORPS,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., March 22, 1863.
SIR: Having completed the reconnaissance begun on the 18th instant, I hereby report the operations of my command.
I left camp, with two days' rations in the haversack and two on packmules, with the following force: One hundred and twenty-third Illinois Infantry, Colonel James Monroe commanding, 18 officers and 313 enlisted men; Eightieth Illinois Infantry, Colonel Thomas G. Allen commanding, 18 officers and 365 enlisted men; One hundred and first Indiana Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Doan commanding, 19 officers and 353 enlisted men; One hundred and fifth Ohio, Lieutenant Colonel William R. Tolles commanding, 18 officers and 245 enlisted men; one section of the Nineteenth Indiana Battery, Captain S. J. Harris commanding, and Company A, of Stokes' cavalry, Captain [Joseph H.] Blackburn commanding, giving me a total strength of infantry of a little over 1,300. My orders were to "reconnoiter the enemy and strike him, if the opportunity offers."
On the night of the 18th, I occupied Cainsville, taking 2 prisoners; making that night an unsuccessful effort to surprise a small rebel camp and failing by the mistake of a guide.
Early the next morning I took the Statesville road, finding the enemy's pickets; captured 2 of them. At Statesville my advance was met by a force of 150 or 200 rebel cavalry; a slight skirmish took place here, in which a sharpshooter from the One hundred and fifth Ohio mortally wounded one of [J. M.] Phillips' rebel cavalry. The enemy retired slowly down Smith's Fork toward Prosperity Church, on the pike. I followed very cautiously, skirmishing the ravines, and upon reaching the pike wounded 2 of Smith's ([Eighth] Tennessee) cavalry and captured 1. Half a mile from this spot, down the valley toward Liberty, a regiment of rebel cavalry, re-enforced by those whom I had driven from Statesville, was in line of battle across the valley. A small cavalry picket was also seen on the pike toward Auburn. I rested my command at Prosperity Church about two hours.
Becoming entirely satisfied that a large rebel force, under Morgan's command, was massed in the vicinity, and that I should be attacked by the next day at the farthest, I determined to choose my own ground for the engagement, and accordingly at dusk I moved my command to the high ground to the rear of Auburn, bringing me 3 miles nearer Murfreesborough, leaving the rebel regiment wholly unmolested, by skirmishing my way to Auburn with 40 or 50 rebels, whom I found had occupied the place during the afternoon. Of this force I wounded 1 or 2, and they retired on the Woodbury road. That night the enemy's pickets confronted mine on every road leading from my position, and a large force advanced in the night from toward Liberty and encamped in the vicinity of Prosperity Church. Knowing that the enemy largely outnumbered me, I determined to draw him as near Murfreesborough as possible, and to reach a fine position near Milton, 7 miles from my Auburn camp.
I moved at light, and upon reaching the high ridge, 3 miles from Auburn, halted twenty minutes to fill canteens and view the enemy's advance. He was 2 miles behind me, but showed himself in no great force. Making on this ridge some demonstrations which would indicate a purpose to stay there, I dropped suddenly down the slope toward