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    [Battle of Murfreesboro]. Confederate Battle Report, submitted by Confederate Colonel Robert B. Vance following the Battle of Stone's River (also known as the Battle of Murfreesboro). Four pages, 8" x 12.5", "Hd. Qrs. 2nd Brig. Shelbyville Tenn," January 10, 1863, to Assistant Adjutant General Bradford signed "Robt. B. Vance Col. Comdg. 2nd Brigade Army of Tenn." Only eight days after the battle ended (and about twenty-five miles south), Colonel Vance reports on "the part in the battle of Murfreesboro on 31st ult. by the 2nd Brigade Genl McCown's Division." This report begins with the 2nd Brigades command "forward". The brigade, which formed the left flank of the Confederate force, pushed the Union right into the center; however, in the process, they lost Brigadier General James E. Rains. As soon as General Rains died, Colonel Vance of the 29th North Carolina Infantry assumed command of the 2nd Brigade. In part as written:

    "On the morning of the 31st the Brigade was formed in line at day break, the 29th N.C. Regiment having just arrived from McMinnville Tenn. The command - "forward" was soon given, and the whole command promptly sprang forward, soon taking the double quick step which was kept, under the direction of Genl Rains (who gallantly led his troops forward) until arriving at a lane where we encountered the enemy's pickets, who fired upon us and fled. One man in the 29th N.C. was killed in the first fire. Crossing the fences the double quick was taken again, the enemy's skirmishers continuing to retreat rapidly before our shouting and triumphant troops. The charge was continued for about the distance of three miles, when the command was halted, the left flank resting on a creek. Here the stragglers were gathered up and the Brigade reformed. During the charge the 29th N.C. Regt. captured one twelve pound howitzer, one six horse wagon laden with ammunition and one medical wagon, while the gunners were driven from a battery on the right of Col. Stovall 3rd Ga and the pieces sent to the rear. The charge was so rapid that time was not afforded to ascertain the number of pieces thus sent back, as the command was not halted a moment. After resting for a short time the Command was moved some distance by the right flank, then moved by the front through several fields into a grove of oaks. At this point the Brigade was changed somewhat. Col Stovall 3rd Ga was placed on right, Maj Smith 9th Ga next, then Col. Vance 29th N.C. leaving Col. Gordon 11th Tenn on left. In this manner we advanced, encountering the enemy in force in a few moments. He delivered one fire and fell back in confusion, our boys pushing on with enthusiasm, charging through the forest and driving the enemy pell mell before them. The enemy formed again on a slight elevation on our front, from which they were soon driven into a cedar thicket and from thence finally into a large field under cover of their guns, a heavy battery which opened on us at once with shell, grape, and canister, while the enemy infantry rallied and opened fire from two or three heavy lines of battle. Here was the struggle for the day and a hard one it was. Almost immediately after this hard contest began, our gallant and noble Brigadier General James E Rains was shot through the heart, falling dead from his horse. Still the troops fought on, though the fall of so daring a leader necessarily produced considerable confusion."

    The battle continued, according to the report, with more fighting and confusion in a cedar thicket. In the final analysis, Vance reports that "From all that I can and have since heard of the conduct of the troops on the field, I feel that I cannot speak too highly of them. The ground charged over first and last was quite five miles and the time occupied in the charge 3 hours and 45 minutes. The field and staff officers of the different commands and the Brigade Staff officers behaved nobly and have surely merited high favors at the hands of their country."

    The Battle of Stones River in central Tennessee lasted from December 31, 1862, through January 2, 1863. Though the battle was inconclusive, the Union, which outnumbered the Confederacy, was successful in maintaining control of central Tennessee. Casualty counts were extremely high for both sides. On four light-blue pages, lined. On the verso of each page, along the left verso, are mounting remnants.


    More Information:

    [Transcription.]

     

    Report of Col Vance [in pencil]

     

    Hd. qrs 2nd Brig. Shelbyville, Tenn

     

    Maj Bradford, Jany 10th, 1863

    A. A. Genl.

     

    Sir: I have the honor to submit my report of the part in the battle of Murfreesboro on 31st ult. by the 2nd Brigade Genl McCown's Division. On the morning of the 31st the Brigade was formed in line at day break, the 29th N.C. Regiment having just arrived from McMinnville Tenn. The command - "forward" was soon given, and the whole command promptly sprang forward, soon taking the double quick step which was kept, under the direction of Genl Rains (who gallantly led his troops forward) until arriving at a lane where we encountered the enemy's pickets, who fired upon us and fled. One man in the 29th N.C. was killed in the first fire. Crossing the fences the double quick was taken again, the enemy's skirmishers continuing to retreat rapidly before our shouting and triumphant troops. The charge was continued for about the distance of three miles, when the command was halted, the left flank resting on a creek. Here the stragglers were gathered up and the Brigade reformed. During the charge the 29th N.C. Regt. captured one twelve pound howitzer, one six horse wagon laden with ammunition and one medical wagon, while the gunners were driven from a battery on the right of Col. Stovall 3rd Ga and the pieces sent to the rear. The charge was so rapid that time was not afforded to ascertain the number of pieces thus sent back, as the command was not halted a moment. After resting for a short time the Command was moved some distance by the right flank, then moved by the front through several

     

    [Page 2]

    fields into a grove of oaks. At this point the Brigade was changed somewhat. Col Stovall 3rd Ga was placed on right, Maj Smith 9th Ga next, then Col. Vance 29th N.C. leaving Col. Gordon 11th Tenn on left. In this manner we advanced, encountering the enemy in force in a few moments. He delivered one fire and fell back in confusion, our boys pushing on with enthusiasm, charging through the forest and driving the enemy pell mell before them. The enemy formed again on a slight elevation on our front, from which they were soon driven into a cedar thicket and from thence finally into a large field under cover of their guns, a heavy battery which opened on us at once with shell, grape, and canister, while the enemy infantry rallied and opened fire from two or three heavy lines of battle. Here was the struggle for the day and a hard one it was. Almost immediately after this hard contest began, our gallant and noble Brigadier General James E Rains was shot through the heart, falling dead from his horse. Still the troops fought on, though the fall of so daring a leader necessarily produced considerable confusion. Owing to the dense cedar thicket through which we were charging, the 3rd and the 9th Ga Battalions got separated from 29th N.C. and 11th Tenn on the extreme right. From the reports of Col. Stovall and Maj. Smith I learn that these gallant commands were hotly engaged in front and on the right flank, being subject to an enfilading fire. They drove the enemy from his positions, and finding the line falling back joined it and reformed in the oak woods. They subsequently obtained position on the right of Genl Johnson's Brigade and continued there till placed in the new line of battle near the cedar swamp and were kept in line till Friday night Jany 2nd 1863 having occasional skirmishes with the enemy in front.

     

    [Page 3]

    In the meantime the 29th N.C. & the 11th Tenn. after continuing the engagement for some time found their ammunition exhausted and accordingly retired to get supplied and to recover the line fully. Here again the 29th N.C. & the 11th Tenn. became separated , as through a mistake the commands went to different points for ammunition. From Col. Thedford's report (Col Gordon having been wounded in the cedar thicket) I learn that after getting the cartridge boxes refilled, they went in with Gen. Lidell's Brigade and sustained heavy loss in a severe action, capturing several pieces, which they were compelled to abandon for want of support. The 29th N.C. also returned to the field and was ordered to attack a Brigade of the enemy which was trying to flank Genl McNair. The command moved across the open field, being exposed to a raking fire from the enemy's battery near by, but meeting Genl McNair's Brigade coming out, the command was ordered to join it, which it did in the woods to the rear, where they also joined by the 11th Tenn. Receiving orders to "obey the orders of Genl Harper," I joined my two regiments to Genl McNair's Brigade and we were moved on the new line of battle, constituting Genl McCown's right on Genl Cheatham's left. Here we lay in line of battle till Friday night Jany 2nd, 1863, occasionally skirmishing in front and constantly expecting the attack to be renewed. From the reports of 1st Lt W. A. McDuffie Eufala Light Artillery I learn that his battery was engaged with the enemy for an hour on the 30th Decr and that he was then ordered to take position in front of his own (2nd) Brigade (he having been supporting Robinson's Battery) but could not do so for want of ammunition, which was supplied during the night. On Wednesday 31st he was ordered to the front, and took position on the Nolansville pike, but was not engaged.

     

    [Page 4]

    Lt. McKenzie was ordered to take position with two pieces on the extreme left with Genl Buford. Here he was engaged on 31st for two hours, cooperating with Genl Wheeler's cavalry. The report speaks highly of the conduct of the men. From all that I can and have since heard of the conduct of the troops on the field, I feel that I cannot speak too highly of them. The ground charged over first and last was quite five miles and the time occupied in the charge 3 hours and 45 minutes. The field and staff officers of the different commands and the Brigade Staff officers behaved nobly and have surely merited high favors at the hands of their country. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to speak further of Genl Rains. His gallantry and daring exposure of himself wsa certainly not surpassed upon the field. Peace to his ashes. As coming under my own eye, I beg to mention Adjutant J.E. Hoey of 29th N.C. who behaved with extraordinary courage upon the field, encouraging the men by word and deed. Several officers had their horses killed. For the casualties of the command, I refer you to reports of killed, wounded and missing.

     

    Respectfully submitted

    Robt. B. Vance Col.

    Comdg 2nd Brigade

    Army of Tenn.

    Robt. Butler [in pencil].



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