Title: Anderson, J. Patton to Major D.E. Huger – Jan. 26, 1863 – Shelbyville, TN—Battle of Murfreesboro a.k.a. Battle of Stones River
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 Material Information
Title: Anderson, J. Patton to Major D.E. Huger – Jan. 26, 1863 – Shelbyville, TN—Battle of Murfreesboro a.k.a. Battle of Stones River
Physical Description: Archival
Creator: Anderson, J. Patton
Baker, Christopher A. ( Transcriber )
Publication Date: 1863
 Subjects
Subject: Civil War
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Tennessee -- Shelbyville
North America -- United States of America -- Florida
North America -- United States of America -- Tennessee
North America -- United States of America
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Bibliographic ID: UF00085659
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: 33jc

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Report of the Battle of Murfreesboro
Dec. 31st 1862

Patton Anderson Brig. Genl.
Comdg: Watlhall's Brigade
Withers' Division, Polk's Corps. A.T.

Headquarters Walthall's Brigade
Withers' Division, Polk's Corps. A.T.
Shelbyville, Jany. 26th 1863
Major,
On the evening of the 27th of December I received an order from Corps Hd Qrs to
turn over the command of the Brigade recently assigned me to Col. Manigault, my next
in rank, and to assume command of Walthall's Brigade, that officer being absent on sick
leave. The several Brigades of Withers' Division had been previously ordered to have
three days cooked rations in their haversacks and to hold themselves in readiness for
action at a moment's warning. About midnight of the 27th-28th, orders were received to
move out at an early hour the next morning, 28th, so as to have a line of battle formed by
9 o'clock a.m. At daylight however, Corps, Division and Brigade Commanders were to
assemble at a point designated on the Nashville Pike, for the purpose of reconnoitering
the ground on which the line was to be formed. On assembling at the rendezvous, the fog
proved to be so thick as to prevent, in a great measure, a thoroughly satisfactory
reconnoisance. The line however was determined upon, and the Maj. General
commanding the Division designated the positions of the several Brigades. They were
immediately marched out from their encampments, and drawn up in line of battle at right
angles with the Nashville Pike, and about a thousand yards in front of the point where the
Pike crosses Stone River Brig Gen. Chalmers' right resting upon the Pike very near the
point where the Rail Road intersects it and his left reaching up a slope in an open field,
and resting about the crest of the hill, with an interval on the top of the hill of about
eighty yards between Genl. Chalmers' left and my right. My line was a prolongation of
his, stretching come three hundred yards into a dense cedar forest Col. Manigault was
on my left: his line was deflected to the rear at an angle of about forty five degrees. My
command was posted from right to left as follows; Barret's Battery, four guns, on the
crest of the hill, in the open field; the 27th Miss. Col. Thos M. Jones commanding; 29th
Miss. Col. Brantley; 30th Miss. Lieut. Col. Scales; 24th Miss. Lieut. Col. McKelvaine, and
the 45th Ala., Col. Gilchrist. The troops remained under arms during the afternoon and
night of the 28th. On the 29th rifle pits were constructed along the line of the 27th Miss,
which was in the open field Capt. Barret also threw up slight earth works to protect his
cannoniers and horses against the enemy's sharpshooters The other Regiments, all of
which were in the cedar forest, erected temporary breastworks of stone, great quantities
of which covered the ground about there. A line of skirmishers had already been thrown
out from two to three hundred yards in front, connecting on the right with those of Genl.
Chalmers', and on the left with Col. Manigault's. Some skirmishing took place during
the day, and a few casualties was the result. On the 30th the skirmishers were more hotly
engaged killed and wounded on this day amounting to thirty five At 9 o'clock, P.M.
the order for attack next morning was received Regimental Commanders were









immediately assembled, and the order communicated to them. On the morning of the
31st, soon after daylight, a few shots on our extreme left, quickly followed by the thick
roll of musketry, and then by booming artillery, announced that the action had
commenced.
In pursuing the instructions contained in the order it was necessary that the
extreme left of our line should advance some distance, swinging around upon the right,
before my command should move beyond the breastworks. The direction of Col.
Manigault's line (on my left), as heretofore explained, made it necessary for his left to
describe an arc equal to the eighth of a circle, the length of his line being the radius,
before reaching the point where it would be on a prolongation of my line.
The enemy's right was being steadily driven back. About 9 o'clock, A.M. Col.
Manigault came to me and informed me that he intended to charge a battery in his front,
and wished me to send two Regiments to his support. I consented to do so, and
immediately ordered the 45th Ala and the 24th Miss forward to perform that duty. They
became hotly engaged soon after leaving their breastworks, the enemy being in heavy
force and strongly posted, backed by many pieces of artillery so planted as to enfilade a
portion of our line. In addition to this enfilading fire, Col. Manigault was exposed to a
cross fire from a battery in front of his left. In the unequal contest our line halted,
staggered and fell back in some confusion, but was easily rallied, reformed and moved to
the front. The 30th, 29th and 27th Miss were now successively order forward, with
instructions to swing round upon, and preserve the touch of the elbow to the right. Capt.
Barret, commanding the battery, was directed to hold his fire not to respond to the long
range guns of the enemy, and only to use his pieces when a favorable opportunity of
playing upon the masses or lines of the enemy was presented. Immediately in front of,
and in short range of these Regiments, the enemy had two batteries advantageously
posted so as to sweep an open field over which they had to pass in their advance. The
ordeal to which they were subjected was a severe one, but the task was undertaken with
that spirit and courage which always deserved success, and seldom fails of achieving it.
As often as their ranks were shattered and broken by grape and canister did they rally,
reform and renew the attack under the leadership of their gallant officers. They were
ordered to take the batteries at all hazards, and they obeyed the order, not however
without heavy loss of officers and men. Not far from where the batteries were playing,
and while cheering can encouraging his men forward, Lieut. Col. James L. Autry,
commanding the 27th Miss, fell pierced through the head by a Minnie ball. (The evening
before the Colonel of the Regiment Thos M. Jones had gone to the rear, complaining of
being unwell, and had not returned during the action). The death of this gallant officer at
a critical period caused some confusion in the Regiment, until they were rallied and
reformed by Capt. E. R. Nelson, the senior officer present, who was subsequently
seriously wounded on another part of the field. About the same time that Lt. Col. Autry
fell, Col. Brantley of the 29th Miss, and his Adjutant 1st Lieut. John W. Campbell were
knocked down by concussion produced by the explosion of a shell very near them, but
the Regiment was soon after carried forward by Lieut. Col. J.B. Morgan in gallant style,
capturing the battery in this front, and driving the enemy in great confusion into and
through the dense cedar brake immediately beyond. On the left of this last Regiment was
the 30th Miss, commanded by Lieut. Col. Scales. Most gallantly did they perform their
part. In moving across the open field, in short range of grape, canister and shrapnel, sixty









two officers and men were killed and one hundred and thirty nine wounded of this
Regiment alone, all within a very short space of time, an [and?] upon an area not greater
than an acre of ground. The 24th Miss, Lieut. Col. McKelvaine commanding, and the 45th
Ala, Col. Gilchrist commanding, respectively on the left of the 30th Miss, also
encountered a battery in their front strongly supported by infantry on advantageous
ground. For a moment these Regiments appeared to reel and stagger before the weight of
lead and iron that was hurled against them. They were encouraged to go forward by the
example of their officers, and the battery was taken. A number of prisoners also fell into
our hands: artillersists who felt confidently secure in the strength of their positions, were
captured at their pieces, and others were taken before they knew their guns had fallen into
our hands. One company entire, with its officers and colors, which had been posted in a
log house near the battery in front of the 29th Miss was captured by the 27th Miss, while
the pieces were falling into the hands of the 29th.
After losing his artillery, the enemy retired through a dense cedar forest in a
direction almost parallel to our original line, and to the right. In this forest they made no
obstinate stand, but owing to the density of the growth and the exhausted condition of our
troops, the pursuit was slow and cautious. It was impossible to preserve a regular and
continuous line through such obstacles as the fallen and standing cedars presented. After
having pushed through the brake a distance of five or six hundred yards, an open field
appeared in front, through which the enemy was fleeing in scattered confusion. The
ground in our front was gently ascending for several hundred yards till the crest of a ridge
was reached, upon which he was now industriously planting artillery, and apparently
massing heavy forces of infantry. Our second line had come up and occupied the edge of
the forest near the open field. It was growing late in the evening, and an advance across
the open field, where the enemy would have such decided advantage, was not deemed
advisable. Indeed after resting awhile to collect stragglers, and replenish the cartridge
boxes, and having become satisfied that my first apprehension of an effort on the part of
the enemy to repossess themselves of the forest was not well founded, a staff officer was
sent to Maj. Genl. Withers, commanding the Division, suggesting that with his consent I
would withdraw my Brigade to its original position, where the troops could better recover
from their exhaustion, and obtain that rest which they so much needed: he returned soon
after with the reply that the Maj. General approved the move. Accordingly about
sundown the Brigade resumed its position of the morning, leaving the troops of the
second line in position at the far edge of the cedar brake, confronting the enemy's line.
We remained here during the night, but moved forward at an early hour the next morning,
by order of Maj. Genl. Withers, and by his direction had begun to deploy the column on
the right of the line then formed in the woods, when Colonel Brantley, of the 29th Miss
informed me that by continuing the deployment much of the line would be exposed to a
severe fire from the batteries last above alluded to. I communicated this to Maj. Genl.
Withers, who directed me to withdraw the line to a position in rear of the second (now
became the first) line, near where the batteries had been taken the day before. We
remained in this position till about noon of this day (1st Jany) when, by order of Lt. Genl.
Polk, we were conducted by one of his staff officers to the position originally occupied
by Brig. Genl. Donaldson's command, in front of Stone River and stretching from the
Wilkinson Pike on the left to the Rail Road on the right: here we remained that afternoon









and night. At an early hour next morning we moved up, by order of Maj. General
Withers, took the position at first occupied by Brig. Genl. Chalmers' Brigade.
I was soon ordered across Stone River to the right, for the purpose of supporting
Maj. Genl. Breckenridge's Division, upon whom it had been reported the enemy were
moving. When the two right Regiments of the Brigade had succeeded in getting across
the river, the order, so far as the other three were concerned; was countermanded, and
they were directed to resume their position in Chalmers' old place; and before U had
reached Genl. Breckenridge with the two right Regiments, an order was received to
return and join the balance of the Brigade. Soon after resuming Chalmers' positions with
the whole Brigade, the 24th Miss. Lt. Col. McKelvaine, was detached by order of Lieut.
Genl. Polk, and sent forward to support Scott's Battery, there posted on our front line.
This was about 2 o'clock P.M. January 2nd. About 4 P.M. I was ordered by the General
Commanding to hasten with my Brigade to the support of General Breckenridge on the
right, who had engaged a superior force of the enemy on the opposite side of the river
from where I then was. Not being familiar with that part of the field, Lieut. Col. Brent, of
Genl. Bragg's staff, was directed to conduct me to the desired position. The troops
deserve much credit for the alacrity with which they moved, having waded the river and
pushed forward at a double quick for more than a mile to the scene of Breckenridge's
bloody conflict. Darkness had separated the combatants when I reached the spot. A staff
officer had been previously sent forward to report to Genl. Breckenridge my near
approach. My column was conducted by Col. Brent to a position in an open wood
between two fields, where, as I understood from him, Breckenridge's line of battle had
first moved forward to the attack. The column was halted, faced to the front, and
skirmishers immediately thrown forward. This precaution had become necessary
inasmuch as there was no line at that time between mine and the enemy, as I learned from
Col. Buckner of Genl. Breckenridge's staff. The General himself rode up at this moment,
and soon directed me to withdraw my line to one that would be pointed out by one of his
staff officers, in a wood some two or three hundred yards in the rear; the line of
skirmishers, however, was not withdrawn. Having arrived at the new position about 9
o'clock P.M. a recconnoisance was made to the right and left, which disclosed the fact,
that on my left an interval of eight hundred yards or more existed between it and the right
of Hansen's Brigade, and that there were no troops on my right at all. Before daylight the
next morning, however, the Brigades of Genls Pillow, Preston and Adams, of
Breckenridge's Division, had prolonged my right, and a few hours later the Brigade of
Brig. Genl. Jackson occupied most of the interval between my left and Hansen's right.
The troops remained in line of battle during the day, many, however, were sent to the rear
on account of sickness caused by the fatigues and exposures of the six days and nights
past. It rained nearly all day (3rd) and at times so violently that fires could not be kept up;
blankets and clothing were wet, and cooked rations were in a condition, from the same
cause, not at all inviting even to a half famished soldier. About sundown I received an
order from Maj. Genl. Withers, to withdraw my command at 9 o'clock that night from its
position, and to take up a line of march down the Shelbyville Pike. At the moment the
hour arrived, and just as the column was about to be put in motion, I was directed to
suspend the execution of this order till further notice. At 11 o'clock the order was
repeated, the movement to commence at 1 o'clock the next morning. At 1 o'clock the
morning of the 4th of January my command moved right in front, following the left of









Brig. Genl. Pillow's Brigade till we reached the public square in Murfreesboro, where I
rejoined Maj. Genl. Wither's Division, to which I belonged, and marched with it to this
place without any loss whatever of men or materials.
It should have been mentioned that early in the afternoon of the 31st the Adjutant
of the 39th North Carolina Regiment (Lt. Hyams, C.S.A.) reported to me on the battle
field that his Regiment had become detached from the command to which it had been
assigned in the morning, and was at that time out of ammunition, and under command of
Capt. Bell, the Field officers having been killed or wounded. I supplied the needed
ammunition, and formed the Regiment on the right of the 29th Miss. It participated
creditably in all our subsequent movements, till on the evening of the 2nd January, by
order of Lieut. Genl. Polk, it was detached and ordered to join Col. Manigault's Brigade.
To my staff officers, Capt. Barth, A.A. Genl., Lieut. Davidson, aid de camp, Capt.
Anderson, Ord: officer, Capt. Lambert May and Lt R.H. Brown of the *** Genl. Dept.,
and Capt. J.B. Downing and Mr. Scanlin, volunteer aids, I am much indebted for their
active and efficient assistance in all that pertained to their respective positions; each and
every one performed his duty to my entire satisfaction. Capt. May was particularly
conspicuous in rallying and leading the troops where danger was the thickest. To him I
am also indebted for the prompt execution of my order to bring from the field the
captured artillery. Capt. E.T. Sykes, A.A. Genl. on Brig. Genl. Walthall's staff,
temporarily on duty with me, rendered very efficient service throughout the entire
engagement. His activity, courage and intelligence rendered his service invaluable on a
field so extended and in a conflict so protracted. Lieut. Wood also Ordnance Officer of
Walthall's Brigade performed his duty with the greatest promptness, displaying much
good sense and judgment in conforming the movements of his train with those of the
troops. In endeavoring to give a simple statement of the part taken by the troops under
my command in this great engagement, the capture of several batteries has been
mentioned in passing. I have abstained from making a statement of the number or kind
of pieces taken for the simple reason that I did not stop to count them or to examine their
calibre. The 27th, 29th and 30th Miss, all participating, (but the 30th suffering more
severely than the others), captured a battery of from four to six guns near a log cabin in
the edge of the cedars, on the right of the Wilkinson Pike and not far from a well used by
the enemy in procuring their water on the night previous to the battle. This battery
included a small iron piece, somewhat detached from, and a short distance to the right of
the other pieces, and which lay in front of the 29th Miss. which took it. In the log cabins
and strongly supporting the battery was a company of sharpshooters, all captured by the
27th Miss. Farther to the left was a battery nearer the Wilkinson Pike from which the
enemy was driven by the 24th Miss, supported by the 45th Ala: some fifteen or twenty
prisoners were here captured at the pieces. Another battery was posted still farther to the
left and nearer the Wilkinson Pike, close by which the left of the 45th Ala (my left
Regiment) passed simultaneously with the right of Col. Manigault. This battery,
however, was silenced a few moments before we reached it; I think by one of our
batteries playing from a direction where I supposed Col. Manigault's left to be at the
time. His right reached the battery simultaneously with my left. As the batteries
immediately in my front were being passed, I directed Capt. May of my staff to have the
pieces taken to the rear with as little delay as possible. He subsequently reported to me
that he delivered to the chief of Ordnance at Murfreesboro eight pieces of different









calibre, and I afterwards learned that there were two or three pieces taken from the same
part of the field by other parties whose names I could not learn.
Our loss in this engagement was heavy as the long list of killed and wounded
will show. An infant nation struggling for existence, and just now fairly disengaging
itself from the oppressor's grasp, pauses in the strife to drop a sympathetic tear over the
graves of its gallant dead, and long after that nation shall have risen to manhood amongst
the great powers of earth, will her free sons and daughters cherish and revere the names
and memories of those who fell upon the bloody plains of Murfreesboro.
The loss of this Brigade was 768, as follows; killed 119; wounded 584; missing
63.
I am, Major,
Very Respectfully
Your Obt. Servt.
Patton Anderson
Brig. Genl. Comdg.
Maj. D.E. Huger
A.A. Genl.
Withers Division
Polk's Corps. A.T.


Transcribed by Christopher A. Baker, University of Florida, 2008.




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