On the 1st of January we waited in position the enemy's attack, but the day closed without offensive operations, except two demonstrations, producing no results.
On the morning of the 2nd the enemy opened four heavy batteries on our center, and made a strong demonstration of attack a little farther to the right, but a well-directed artillery fire soon silenced his batteries and put an end to his efforts there. In the afternoon a vigorous attack was made on our left by heavy columns, battalion front, forcing us, after severe fighting, to cross to the west of the river, from which side a well-directed artillery fire, supported by infantry, was opened with terrific havoc on the enemy's masses, inflicting a loss upon him in forty minutes of 2,000 killed and wounded. The defeated and flying enemy were pursued by five brigades until after dark. We captured four pieces of artillery and a stand of colors.
As a heavy rain on the morning of the 3rd rendered the ploughed ground on our left impassable for artillery, no pursuit was ordered, and the day terminated without further hostilities than driving from our front the enemy's numerous sharpshooters, who greatly annoyed us from the woods and their rifle-pits.
On the 5th we occupied Murfreesborough, and pursued the enemy six or seven miles toward Manchester, but the difficulty of bringing up supplies and the great loss of artillery horses was thought to render further pursuit inexpedient.
Our loss in this battle was 1,533 killed, 7,245 wounded, and 2,800 missing, and 28 pieces of artillery and a large number of wagons captured by the enemy. Reported rebel loss in killed and wounded was 14,560. We captured 6 pieces of their artillery.
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GENERAL REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
It has not been possible in the foregoing summary to refer to all the engagements which our troops have had with the enemy during the past year, as no official accounts or reports of some of them could be found. The details given have been compiled from telegrams, dispatches, and reports scattered through the various bureaus of the War Department. I respectfully recommend that all these official documents and reports received since the beginning of the war be collected and published in chronological order, under the direction of the Adjutant-General's Department. Some have already been published by Congress, but they are so incorrectly printed and badly arranged as to be almost useless as historical documents.
The rebel armies live mainly upon the country through which they pass, taking food and forage alike from friends and foes. This enables them to move with ease and great rapidity. Our commanders operating in the rebel States generally find no supplies, and in the border States it is difficult to distinguish between real friends and enemies. To live upon the country passed over often produces great distress among the inhabitants; but it is one of the unavoidable results of war and is justified by the usages of civilized nations. Some of our commanders have availed themselves of this right of military appropriation, while others have required too large supply trains, and have not depended as much as they might have done upon the resources of the country in which they operated. General Grant says, in his official report:
In the march from Bruinsburg to Vicksburg, covering a period of twenty days before supplies could be obtained from the Government stores, only five days"