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There was some talk [at Rosecran’s headquarters] of falling back. I do not remember who started the subject, but I said my men would be very much discouraged to have to abandon the field after their good fight of the day Rosecrans, perceiving men moving up and down with torches said They have got entirely in our rear and are forming a line of battle by torchlight! [he] told us to go to our commands and prepare to fight or die.
Soon after dark a small fire was built, and several of [our] me had gathered to it General Rosecrans came up and said You are my men and I don’t like to have any of you hurt. Where the enemy see a fire like this, they know 2530 men are gathered and are sure to shoot at it. I advise you to put it out. Scarcely was he done speaking, when a shot came just high enough to miss the heads of the party, and a shell exploded just beyond.
The groans of the poor wounded was heart-rending. I could not repress a few falling tears. I got off my horse and built fires for several foe and friend. Many, many that chilled to death that night might have been saved could they but have had attendance.
Nearly 30,000 Union soldiers spent New Years Eve 1862 concentrated along Nashville Pike, the same highway you see just ahead.Thomas Crittenden, major general, commanding the Left Wing.
Silas Canfield, captain, 21st Ohio Infantry regiment John Magee, corporal, Stanfords Mississippi Light Artillery December 31st midnight