General Polk's Report


At 5 AM December 30th my brigade was posted east to west astride the Lebanon Turnpike just north of Murfeesboro. We were ordered by General Cleburne to move north along the turnpike then take the road along Sinking Creek turning north along the road to Sulphur Springs moving in the direction of the Major Ross Farm.
Due to the heavy traffic on this road we did not reach the turn off until after 8 AM when I began to move toward Sulphur Springs. Around 9 AM we heard the sounds of firing to our west and I received word from General Cleburne that General Breckenridge had run into the yankees on this side of the river and was ordered to move to the west and form line of battle near the Ross Farm. By 11 AM we had come up in support of General Jackson who had driven back the yankee pickets and was moving to secure McFadden's Ford and the ford northwest of it. Shortly before noon General Wood had come up on my right and secured the upper ford while my brigade was attacking the yankees in our effort to capture McFadden's Ford. At 1 PM the yankees committed dismounted cavalry in a desperate attempt to hold the ford. However our men would not be denied and they continued to press them back until sometime around 3 PM we reached the banks of Stone's River at McFadden's Ford and cut off the yankees escape. Within the next hour the last of the enemy on our side of the river had surrendered, including General Crittenden and General Wood. At 4 PM we were ordered by General Cleburne to pull back into the woods to avoid the yankee artillery fire from across the river and told to make camp for the night. We rested there till morning, having lost nearly a third of our strength.
On December 31st the brigade spent most of the morning in the woods resting and resupplying and allowing the men to recover from the events of the previous day. At 11 AM General Cleburne passed along General Hardee's orders for an attack across the river. We would provide support to Wood's and Liddel's brigades firing from the banks of the river. At approximately noon General Woods began crossing at the upper ford, followed by General Liddell, while General Preston of Breckenridge's division forced a crossing at McFadden's Ford. We provided fire support to both brigades then followed General Liddell across the river.
Upon crossing the river I was ordered to move to the right of Wood's brigade and along with him press on to the RR line. We did as ordered, the yankees offering little resistance and by 3 PM I had reached the RR line my left resting on it while my right held onto the riverbank. By 4 PM we had driven the yankees back and secured the Nashville Turnpike at which time I was ordered to pull back to the high ground this side of the RR Line and establish a defensive line there. This is where the brigade was when night fell on the second day.
Leonidias Polk
Brigadier General
Army of the Tennessee

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