Thursday, 13 October 2011


A lull followed the third fierce assault, and an investigation showed that, with the exception of a few rounds in my brigade, our ammunition was entirely exhausted; and while it was apparent that the enemy was reluctant to renew the conflict in my front, yet I was satisfied I could not hold on much longer without the danger of ultimate capture, so I prepared to AS said we are leabving Blogger and its fink shite but I'll finish off Sheridan for you as its got to be popular. I'll leave an address for the new blog which will be this but on an independent site. If you want it to continue support it otherwise it won't, commemnts?withdraw as soon as the troops of Rousseau's division, which had been ordered to take up a line on my right, came into position. Schaefer's and Sill's brigades being without a cartridge, I directed them to fix bayonets for a charge, and await any attempt of the enemy to embarrass my retreat, while Roberts's brigade, offering such resistance as its small quantity of ammunition would permit, was pulled slowly in toward the Nashville pike.

Nashville Pike Cotton Fields (Above)

The battered Union Army reformed on a low series of cotton fields just a few thousand feet from the lifeline and General Bragg's objective, the Nashville Pike connecting them to reinforcements and supplies. Final assaults in this area by General John Breckinridge's Confederate Division were soundly repulsed by dozens of cannons arrayed around, the roar so loud that troops stuffed their ears with fresh cotton Eighty of the horses of Houghtaling's battery having been killed, an attempt was made to bring his guns back by hand over the rocky ground, but it could not be done, and we had to abandon them. Hescock also had lost most of his horses, but all his guns were saved. Bush's battery lost two pieces, the tangled underbrush in the dense cedars proving an obstacle toThe war in America : a Confederate deserter coming into the Federal lines at Munson's Hill. getting them away which his almost superhuman exertions could not surmount. Thus far the bloody duel had cost me heavily, one-third of my division being killed or wounded. I had already three brigade commanders killed; a little later I lost my fourth—Colonel Schaefer.
The difficulties of withdrawing were very great, as the ground was exceptionally rocky, and the growth of cedars almost impenetrable for wheeled carriages. Retiring sullenly under a heavy fire, while the general line was reformed to my right and rear, my division was at The Civil War in America : Carolinian pickets flying before the advance of the Federal troops on Fairfax.length drawn through the cedars and debouched into an open space near the Murfreesboro' pike, behind the right of Palmer's division. Two regiments of Sill's brigade, however, on account of the conformation of the ground, were obliged to fall back from the point where Woodruff's brigade of Davis's division had rallied after the disaster of the early morning. The division came out of the cedars with unbroken ranks, thinned by only its killed and wounded—but few missing. Negro recruits taking the cars for Murfreesboro', Tenn., to join the Federal Army.Negro recruits taking the cars for Murfreesboro', Tenn., to join the Federal Army.  [Negro recruits taking the cars for Murfreesboro, Tennessee
When we came into the open ground, McCook directed Roberts's brigade—now commanded by Colonel Luther P. Bradley—to proceed a short distance to the rear on the Nashville pike, to repel the enemy's threatening attempt at our communications. Willingly and cheerfully the Buying a substitute for the war in the North.Buying a substitute for the war in the North. (1863)
brigade again entered the fight under these new conditions, and although it was supplied with but three or four cartridges to the man now, it charged gallantly and recaptured two pieces of artillery which the Union troops had had to abandon at that point.
Shortly after we debouched from the cedars I was directed by Rosecrans to send some aid to the right of General Palmer's division; and two of Schaefer's regiments, having obtained ammunition, were pushed up on Palmer's right, accompanied by four of Hescock's guns; but the advance of the enemy here had already been checked by Palmer, and only a desultory The Civil War in America : Confederate prisoners captured by United States' pickets between Fairfax and Manassas Junction, Virginia.contest ensued. Rosecrans, whom I now met in the open ground west of the railroad, behind Palmer, directed that my command should relieve Wood's division, which was required to fall back and take up the new line that had been marked out while I was holding on in the cedars. His usually florid face had lost its ruddy color, and his anxious eyes told that the disasters of the morning were testing his powers to the very verge of endurance, but he seemed fully to comprehend what had befallen us. His firmly set lips and, the calmness with which his instructions were delivered inspired confidence in all around him; and expressing approbation of what my division had done, while deliberately directing it to a new point, he renewed in us all the hope of final victory, though it must be admitted that at this phase of the battle the chances lay largely with the enemy.
Withdrawing the two regiments and Hescock's battery, that I had posted on the right of Palmer, I moved as directed by Rosecrans into the position to the east of the railroad, and formed immediately to the right of Wood, who was now being attacked all along his front, but more particularly where his right rested near the railroad. Under a storm of shot and shell The Civil War in America : capture of a United States' dragoon by guerrilla horsemen of Virginia.that came in torrents my troops took up the new ground, advancing through a clump of open timber to Wood's assistance. Forming in line in front of the timber we poured a telling fire into the enemy's ranks, which were then attacking across some cleared fields; but when he 


discovered additional troops confronting him, he gave up the attempt to carry Wood's . To those that don't know Lone Star well they once produced toy soldiers paid bad wages and I mean pigeon feed and had a funny management as in not very funny.They were in Southgate.they did really crap soldiers but not as bad as Charbens.position. It was here that I lost Schaefer, who was killed instantly, making my fourth brigade commander dead that day. The enemy in front of Wood having been checked, our whole line east of the railroad executed undisturbed its retrograde movement to a position about three hundred yards to its rear. When I fell back to the edge of the clump of timber, where when first coming on the ground I had formed to help Wood, I was ordered by Rosecrans to prepare to make a charge should the enemy again assault us. In anticipation of this work I massed my troops in close column. The expected attack never came, however, but the shot and shell of a furious cannonade told with fatal effect upon men and officers as they lay on their faces hugging the ground. The torments of this trying situation were almost unbearable, but it was obvious to all that it was necessary to have at hand a compact body of troops to repel any assault the enemy might make pending the reconstruction of the extreme right of our line, and a silent determination to stay seemed to take hold of each individual soldier; nor was this grim silence interrupted throughout the cannonade, except in one instance, when one of the regiments broke out in a lusty cheer as a startled rabbit in search of a new hiding-place safely ran the whole length of the line on the backs of the men.
While my troops were still lying here, General Rosecrans, with a part of his staff and a few orderlies, rode out on the rearranged line to supervise its formation and encourage the men, and in prosecution of these objects moved around the front of my column of attack, within range of the batteries that were shelling us so viciously. As he passed to the open ground on my left, I joined him. The enemy seeing this mounted party, turned his guns upon it, and his accurate aim was soon rewarded, for a solid shot carried away the head of Colonel Garesche, the chief-of-staff, and killed or wounded two or three orderlies. Garesche's appalling death stunned us all, and a momentary expression of horror spread over Rosecrans's face; but at such a time the importance of self-control was vital, and he pursued his course with an appearance of indifference, which, Camp of 13th Illinois Volunteers, Civil War.however, those immediately about him saw was assumed, for undoubtedly he felt most deeply the death of his friend and trusted staff-officer.
No other attacks were made on us to the east of the railroad for the rest of the afternoon, and just before dark I was directed to withdraw and take up a position along the west side of the Nashville pike, on the extreme right of our new line, where Roberts's brigade and the Seventy-third and Eighty-eighth Illinois had already been placed by McCook. The day had cost me much anxiety and sadness, and I was sorely disappointed at the general result, [Battle, United States, Civil War, 1863.]though I could not be other than pleased at the part taken by my command. The loss of my brigade commanders—Sill, Roberts, Schaefer, and Harrington-and a large number of regimental and battery officers, with so many of their men, struck deep into my heart: My thinned ranks told the woeful tale of the fierce struggles, indescribable by words, through which my division had passed since 7 o'clock in the morning; and this, added to our hungry and exhausted condition, was naturally disheartening. The men had been made veterans, however, by the fortunes and misfortunes of the day, and as they went into their new places still confident of final success, it was plain to see that they felt a self-confidence inspired by the part they had already played.The Civil War in America : Confederate prisioners in Camp Georgia, Roanoke Island.
My headquarters were now established on the Nashville pike, about three miles and a half from Murfreesboro'; my division being aligned to the west of the pike, bowed out and facing almost west, Cleburn's division of the Confederates confronting it. Davis's division was posted on my right, and Walker's brigade of Thomas's corps, which had reported to me, took up a line that connected my left with Johnson's division.The Civil War in America : Federal cavalry scouts entering the depot at Manassas Junction.
Late in the evening General Rosecrans, accompanied by General McCook, and several other officers whose names I am now unable to recall, rode by my headquarters on their way to the rear to look for a new line of battle—on Overall's creek it was said—that would preserve our communications with Nashville and offer better facilities for resistance than the one we were now holding. Considerable time had elapsed when they returned from this exploration and proceeded to their respective commands, without intimating to me that anything had Double quick march.been determined upon by the reconnoissance, but a little later it was rumored through the different headquarters that while the party was looking for a new position it discovered the enemy's troops moving toward our right and rear, the head of his columns being conducted in the darkness by the aid of torches, and that no alternative was left us but to hold the lines we then occupied. The torches had been seen unquestionably, and possibly created some alarm at first in the minds of the reconnoitring party, but it was soon ascertained that the lights came from a battalion of the Fourth regular cavalry that was picketing our flank and happened to be starting its bivouac fires at the moment. The fires and the supposed movements had no weight, therefore, in deciding the proposition to take up a line at Overall's creek, but General Rosecrans, fortunately for the army, decided to remain where he was. Doubtless reflections during his ride caused him to realize that the enemy must be quite as much crippled as himself. If it had been decided to fall back to Overall's creek, we could have withdrawn without much difficulty very likely, but such a retrograde movement would have left to the enemy the entire battle-field of Stone River and ultimately compelled our retreat to Nashville.
above Rebel but I dont know by who.
In the night of December 3rd several slight demonstrations were made on my front, but from the darkness neither party felt the effect of the other's fire, and when daylight came again the skirmishers and lines of battle were in about the same position they had taken up the evening before. Soon after daybreak it became evident that the conflict was to be renewed, and a little later the enemy resumed the offensive by an attack along my left front, especially on Walker's brigade. His attempt was ineffectual, however, and so easily repulsed as to demonstrate that the desperate character of his assaults the day before had nearly exhausted his strength. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon he made another feeble charge on my front, but our fire from the barricades and rifle-pits soon demoralized his advancing lines, which fell back in some confusion, thus enabling us to pick up about a hundred prisoners. From this time till the evening of January 3 Bragg's left remained in our front, and continued to show itself at intervals by weak demonstrations, which we afterward ascertained were directly intended to cover the desperate assault he made with Breckenridge on the left of Rosecrans, an assault that really had in view only a defensive purpose, for unless Bragg dislodged the troops which were now massing in front of his right he would be obliged to withdraw General Polk's corps behind Stone River and finally abandon Murfreesboro'. The sequel proved this to be the case; and the ill-judged assault led by Breckenridge ending in entire defeat, Bragg retired from Murfreesboro' the night of January 3.The Civil War in America : "Contraband of war."
General Rosecrans occupied Murfreesboro' on the 4th and 5th, having gained a costly victory, which was not decisive enough in its character to greatly affect the general course of the war, though it somewhat strengthened and increased our hold on Middle Tennessee. The enemy in retiring did not fall back very far—only behind Duck River to Shelbyville and Tullahoma—and but little endeavor was made to follow him. Indeed, we were not in condition to pursue, even if it had been the intention at the outset of the campaign.Battle of Murfreesboro--capture of a Confederate flag.
As soon as possible after the Confederate retreat I went over the battle-field to collect such of my wounded as had not been carried off to the South and to bury my dead. In the cedars and on the ground where I had been so fiercely assaulted when the battle opened, on the morning of the 31st, evidences of the bloody struggle appeared on every hand in the form of broken fire-arms, fragments of accoutrements, and splintered trees. The dead had nearly all been left unburied, but as there was likelihood of their mutilation by roving swine, the bodies had mostly been collected in piles at different points and inclosed by rail fences. The sad duties of interment and of caring for the wounded were completed by the 5th, and on the 6th I moved my division three miles, south of Murfreesboro' on the Shelbyville pike, going into camp on the banks of Stone River. Here the condition of my command was thoroughly looked into, and an endeavor made to correct such defects as had been disclosed by the recent battle.
During the engagement there had been little straggling, and my list Battle of Stone River --the decisive charge of the federal troops across the river.of missing was small and legitimate; still, it was known that a very few had shirked their duty, and an example was necessary. Among this small number were four officers who, it was charged, had abandoned their colors and regiments. When their guilt was clearly established, and as soon as an opportunity occurred, I caused the whole division to be formed in a hollow square, closed in mass, and had the four officers marched to the centre, where, telling them that I would not humiliate any officer or soldier by requiring him to touch their disgraced [Cartoon concerning cotton industry, 1861.]swords, I compelled them to deliver theirs up to my colored servant, who also cut from their coats every insignia of rank. Then, after there had been read to the command[Albert S. Johnston crossing the desert to join the Southern army.] an order from army headquarters dismissing the four from the service, the scene was brought to a close by drumming the cowards out of camp. It was a mortifying spectacle, but from that day no officer in that division ever abandoned his colors.(above Albert Johnson crossing the desert to join the Rebels)Civil War.
My effective force in the battle of Stone River was 4,154 officers and men. Of this number I lost 1,633 killed, wounded, and missing, or nearly 40 per cent. In the remaining years of the war, though often engaged in most severe contests, I never experienced in any of my commands so high a rate of casualties. The ratio of loss in the whole of Rosecrans's army was also high, and Bragg's losses were almost equally great. Rosecrans carried into the action about 42,000 officers and men. He lost 13,230, or 31 per cent. Bragg's effective force was 37,800 officers and men; he lost 10,306, or nearly 28 per cent.The Civil War in America : the ten-pounder gun battery (Federalist) at Budd's Ferry, lower Potomac, opposite the Confederate batteries on the Virginia shore.
Though our victory was dearly bought, yet the importance of gaining the day at any price was very great, particularly when we consider what might have been the result had not the gallantry of the army and the manoeuvring during the early disaster saved us from ultimate defeat. We had started out from Nashville on an offensive campaign, probably with no intention of going beyond Murfreesboro', in midwinter, but still with the expectation of delivering a crushing blow should the enemy accept our challenge to battle. He met us with a plan of attack almost the counterpart of our own. In the execution of his plan he had many advantages, not the least of which was his intimate knowledge of the ground, and he came near destroying us. Had he done so, Nashville would probably have fallen; at all events, First blood -- the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment fighting their way through Baltimore, April 19, 1861.Kentucky would have been opened again to his incursions, and the theatre of war very likely transferred once more to the Ohio River. As the case now stood, however, Nashville was Secessionist prisoner captured at Alexandria ; The Marshall house at Alexandria ; The murder of Colonel Ellsworth.firmly established as a base for future operations, Kentucky was safe from the possibility of being again overrun, and Bragg, thrown on the defensive, was compelled to give his thoughts to the protection of the interior of the Confederacy and the security of Chattanooga, rather than indulge in schemes of conquest north of the Cumberland River. While he still held on in Middle Tennessee his grasp was so much loosened that only slight effort would be necessary to push him back into Georgia, and thus give to the mountain region of East Tennessee an opportunity to prove its loyalty to the Union.A night reconnoissance [i.e. reconaissance] on the Potomac.
The victory quieted the fears of the West and Northwest, destroyed the hopes of the secession element in Kentucky, renewed the drooping spirits of the East Tennesseans, and demoralized the disunionists in Middle Tennessee; yet it was a negative victory so far as concerned the result on the battle-field. Rosecrans seems to have planned the battle with the idea that the enemy would continue passive, remain entirely on the defensive, and that it was necessary only to push forward our left in order to force the evacuation of Murfreesboro'; and notwithstanding the fact that on the afternoon of December 30 McCook received information that the right of Johnson's division. resting near the Franklin pike, extended only to about the centre of the Confederate army, it does not appear that attack from that quarter was at all apprehended by the Union commanders.(above Mannie Gentile)
The natural line of retreat of the Confederates was not threatened by the design of Rosecrans; and Bragg, without risk to his communications, anticipated it by a counter-attack of like character from his own left, and demolished his adversary's plan the moment we were thrown on the defensive. Had Bragg followed up with the spirit which characterized its The charge of the first Iowa regiment, with General Lyon at its head, at the Battle of Wilson's Creek, near Springfield, Missouri, August 10, 1861.beginning the successful attack by Hardee on our right wing—and there seems no reason why he should not have done so—the army of Rosecrans still might have got back to Nashville, but it would have been depleted and demoralized to such a degree as to unfit it for offensive operations for a long time afterward. Bragg's intrenchments in front of Stone River were very strong, and there seems no reason why he should not have used his plain advantage as explained, but instead he allowed us to gain time, intrench, and recover a confidence that at first was badly shaken. Finally, to cap the climax of his errors, he directed Breckenridge to make the assault from his right flank on January 2, with small chance for anything but disaster, when the real purpose in view could have been accomplished without the necessity of any offensive manoeuvre whatever.Stonewall Jackson, Bull Run, July 21, 1861.

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