HQ, First Division, Fourth Army Corps
Huntsville, Ala., January 6, 1865

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 14th of December last I received the order of the general commanding the corps to be ready to march at 6 o'clock the next morning, for the purpose of attacking the rebel army, then intrenched before Nashville. At that hour my command was under arms, and immediately after daybreak it was moved toward the right and out through our line of works on the Hillsborough pike, and put in position--the Third Brigade, Brig. Gen. William Grose commanding, on the right, his right extending to the position taken by the left of the Second Division of this corps, and the First Brigade, Col. I. M. Kirby commanding, on the left, his left resting on the Hillsborough pike; the Second Brigade, Brig. Gen. Walter C. Whitaker commanding, was placed in reserve opposite my center. All of my brigades were formed in two lines of battle. During the forenoon my line was advanced, driving the enemy's skirmishers before it to a ridge fronting and about 1,000 yards from Montgomery's Hill, where the enemy had strong works and a battery commanding the Hillsborough pike. In this advance my command had obliqued to the left, conforming its movements to adjacent commands, and nearly all of the First Brigade crossed the turnpike and took position to the left of it. Ziegler's battery (B, Second Independent Pennsylvania Artillery) had been ordered to report to the, and was placed in position on the ridge before spoken of, near the pike, and on the left of it. About midway between this position and Montgomery's Hill, in front of my left, intervened a small ridge of ground, which almost disappeared at the Hillsborough pike, in front of my left center. The country between my position and the enemy's works was open, and every movement of my troops could be plainly seen by him. At 2 p.m. I was ordered to occupy this ridge, which was promptly done by Kirby's brigade, Grose's brigade connecting with his right. The right of Grose's brigade in this movement was retired to protect my right flank, which was left exposed in consequence of the Second Division not having moved at the same time.

Ziegler was sent forward with his battery, and took position on the Hillsborough pike, on the right of First Brigade, and within easy musket-range of the enemy's works. From this point he kept up a galling and continuous fire upon the enemy, sending many of his shells through the rebel embrasures into their ranks. Upon securing the ridge of ground referred to it was discovered that at the foot of the slope toward the enemy there was an old road, somewhat worn by rains and long use, and which Kirby's front line was ordered to occupy. A good protection to a part of my line was thus procured for the time being within 250 yards of the enemy's works.

At 4 p.m. I asked and received permission of the general commanding the corps to assault this hill. The command, "forward," was immediately given. Grose's brigade advanced along the turnpike, and, crossing it, passed a stone fence which had been used by the enemy, and charged up the steep hill at double-quick. The right of this brigade reached around and inclosed the southwesterly or left end of the enemy's works on Montgomery's Hill. Kirby's brigade moved directly forward, with an unbroken line, across a corn-field where the ground was very heavy, and through the brush and fallen timber on the hill-side, never halting until his front line was inside the enemy's works. Both brigades moved in the face of a murderous fire of canister and rifle-balls, and both reached the hill-top at nearly the same moment. Kirby lost heavily while crossing the corn-field, as he was necessarily much exposed to the enemy's fire. In this assault my command captured- pieces of artillery, about 300 prisoners, and great numbers of small and side arms. The prisoners were sent to the rear, and the command pushed on in pursuit of the retreating enemy, leaving the artillery, small.arms, and other trophies in the works from which the enemy had been driven. The right of my line was here thrown forward and the direction of my front changed toward the left. The enemy was closely pursued until my command reached the Granny White pike, where darkness ended the day's work, and the command bivouacked for the night.

In obedience to your orders, at 7 o'clock the morning of the 16th, I formed my command in line of battle, with the Second Brigade, Briga-dier-General Whitaker commanding, on the right, the Third Brigade, Brigadier-General Grose commanding, on the left, and the First Brigade, Col. I. M. Kirby commanding, in reserve, each brigade in two lines.

Throwing forward a strong line of skirmishers, and supporting them with my whole command, the enemy's position in my front was soon developed, and he was found strongly posted in earth-works along the base of a high ridge, his line extending toward the east across and covering the Franklin pike. At 10 o'clock I was in position in front of the enemy, my line parallel to his, my left resting upon the Franklin pike, and my right connecting with Garrard's division, of the Sixteenth Corps.

Ziegler's battery was posted upon an eminence near my center and about 1,000 yards from the enemy's works. At 1 p.m. I advanced my lines to a ridge about 400 yards from the enemy's main works, and occupied it, under a most galling fire from his artillery immediately in my front. It was in this position, while using his battery with great effect upon the enemy, that Ziegler had two of his pieces disabled by solid shot. His battery was then withdrawn, and Battery F [M], Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Canby commanding, reporting to me, was put in the position formerly occupied by Ziegler's battery, where it did excellent service, punishing the enemy severely. At 4 o'clock my command charged the enemy's works successfully, capturing -- pieces of artillery, 900 prisoners, and a great number of small-arms and intrenching tools, which were left in the works while the command pressed on after the enemy, who were fleeing down the Franklin pike. The Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry, Maj. George Hicks commanding, was in the advance, and pressed the enemy so closely that a drove of cattle was abandoned by them. The pursuit ended soon after dark, and my command bivouacked seven miles from Nashville, on the Franklin pike, picketing the Brentwood Pass. Canby's battery pressed forward with the division during the pursuit of the enemy.

Early on the morning of the 17th the pursuit was continued, and my command bivouacked at night on the north bank of the Harpeth lover near Franklin. During this day's march great numbers of stragglers and deserters from the enemy were picked up and sent to the rear. On the 18th my command crossed the Harpeth River, and marching through Franklin, bivouacked three miles south of Spring Hill. On the 19th I moved to near Rutherford's Creek, which, although usually easily forded, was then so swollen by the heavy rains which had continued to fall without cessation since the afternoon of the 16th, as to be impassable, all the bridges having been destroyed. The Third Brigade, Brigadier-General Grose commanding, was sent soon after noon to bridge the stream, and before dark the next day my whole command had crossed the creek, bivouacking near the Franklin pike, about three-quarters of a mile from Columbia. The division remained in bivouac at that point until 9 o'clock the evening of the 22d, when it crossed Duck River by the pontoon bridge, and bivouacked about midnight south of the town of Columbia. The march was resumed at 2 o'clock the evening of the 23d. The advance guard of cavalry immediately in my front came up with the rear guard of the enemy about five miles south of Columbia, strongly posted in a pass between high hills and through which the road ran. I immediately deployed a strong line of skirmishers and sent them forward. A section of Thomasson's (First Kentucky) battery was put in position about 800 yards from their lines and opened upon them. After a sharp skirmish they were driven from the pass, leaving behind a captain mortally wounded and one man killed. My command bivouacked for the night in the pass. On the 24th I marched to a point on the Pulaski road three miles south of Lynnville and bivouacked. On the 25th I moved through Pulaski to a point on the Lamb's Ferry road six miles south of Pulaski, where my command bivouacked and remained next day awaiting the arrival of rations. On the morning of the 27th I moved at daylight, and bivouacked near Puncheon Church, on Sugar Creek. At daylight the 28th my command resumed the march, and bivouacked at sundown near Lexington, Ala, where orders were received announcing that the pursuit of the enemy for the present was ended.

I have receipts for 9 pieces of artillery and 968 prisoners of war captured by this division during the actions of the 15th and 16th. The reports of my brigade commanders make the captures of artillery amount to 17 pieces, but I have no doubt that 4 of these are claimed by two different brigades. I am, however, positive that this division captured 13 pieces of artillery and 1,200 prisoners of war, besides great numbers of small-arms, several wagon-loads of intrenching tools, and a number of beef-cattle.

In the eagerness of both officers and men to pursue the fleeing enemy prisoners were sent to the rear and the artillery and other spoils passed by, which by this means falling into the hands of commands which came after us were accredited to them, although the credit of the capture is due to this division.

My losses were 9 officers killed and 4 wounded; 32 enlisted men killed, 207 wounded, and 2 missing. Reference is respectfully made to the accompanying tabular statement of the losses of each brigade. For a full and complete statement of the gallantry of officers and men I respectfully refer you to the accompanying reports of brigade and regimental commanders.

It is unnecessary for me to mention to the general commanding the corps the conduct of my division in the battles of the 15th and 16th ultimo and in the pursuit of the enemy succeeding those battles. He was an eye-witness to the noble bravery of the officers and men in their daring and successful assaults upon the enemy's works, and the patient and cheerful temper with which they endured the tedious and fatiguing pursuit, through rain and mud, while driving the rebel hordes across the Tennessee. But I cannot close this report without commending to the general commanding and to the Government Brig. Gens. Walter C. Whitaker and William Grose and Col. I. M. Kirby, of the One hundred and first Ohio Infantry, my brigade commanders, for the skillful manner in which they handled their troops and the promptness with which they obeyed and executed my orders. My thanks and gratitude are tendered them, and the Government should reward them. I also with pleasure commend the officers and men of my whole command, who deserve the highest praise and gratitude of the nation. Although in general terms I thus commend all, I would make special mention of Capt. Charles E. Rowan, of the Ninety-sixth Regiment Illinois Infantry, who, when the rebels were driven from their works on the afternoon of the 16th, pursued them with twenty of his men so closely that he was beyond hearing of the order to halt and reform, and continued pressing immediately upon their heels, taking many prisoners and stampeding their drove of cattle; and of Lieut. William Felton, Ninetieth Ohio Infantry, and acting assistant adjutant-general of the First Brigade, who, in the charge on Montgomery's Hill, seized the colors of his regiment and bore them on horseback through an embrasure into the rebel works; and of Father Cooney, chaplain of the Thirty-fifth Indiana Infantry, who remained in the front with his regiment, encouraging and cheering the men by his words and acts; and of Color-Sergt. Jesse H. Hall, of the One hundred and first Ohio Infantry, who, when attacked by a rebel officer with a drawn saber, defended himself with his flagstaff' and beat the officer into an unconditional surrender; and of Sergt. John Vincent, of the Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry, who bore the colors of his regiment into the rebel battery ahead of his comrades and planted them there while the enemy were loading the guns. I cannot speak in too high terms of commendation of Ziegler's (Battery B, Second Pennsylvania Independent Artillery) and Canby's (Battery F [M], Fourth U.S. Artillery) batteries. To the bravery, energy, and skill of their officers and men this division is greatly indebted for its success in charging the enemy's works. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky may well be proud of such sons, their representatives in the nation's army. The honor of those States and the welfare of the nation will ever be safe in their hands when led by such noble chiefs as Bennett, Suman, Smith, Rose, Moore, Yeoman, Evans, Morton, Wood, McDanald, Tassin, Northup, Humphrey, Hicks, Taylor, Mathey, Jamison, Pollard, Cunningham, and Lawton.

To the officers of my staff I am grateful for their valuable services in promptly delivering my orders and assisting in the execution of them upon every part of the field. I commend them to your most favorable consideration.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding

Submitted by Jim Davis