Colonel Beckham was mortally wounded, and was succeeded in command of the
artillery regiment by Major Johnston.
Early on the morning of the 30TH the advance in the direction of Franklin
was renewed, and when the battery was within six miles of the town, an order
was received from General Hood to move up at a trot, as it was only needed to
" press the enemy at this point, and the campaign would be over ! " The scene
of action was reached about 4 P. M., when the battalion was placed in reserve, and
did not take part in the attack that followed. It was one of the most remarkable,
and certainly one of the bloodiest, battles of the war. Cheatham's and Stewart's
Corps charged over an open plain of six hundred yards in width, under a severe
fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry, the latter occupying a double line of
defenses on the brow of an elevation of some fifteen feet. The charge was a
brilliant one and was partially successful, as part of the enemy's line was captured,
but it was at a fearful loss on our side.
The loss of the Confederates in officers was unprecedentedly heavy. Eleven
general officers were killed and wounded. Among the killed were Cleburne, Gran-
berry, Carter and Lewis. All the field officers remained mounted during the charge.
At daylight on the morning after the fight, Lieutenant Ritter rode over the
field, and in the part of the line where Cockrell's Missourians charged the enemy's
defenses he found the dead lying thick, piled one upon another, till the earth was
hidden by the woeful spectacle. Near this point to the right General Lewis' horse
was found lying upon the top of the works, and fifty yards within the enemy's
main line of fortifications a single Confederate soldier was found, face down, his
head toward the enemy, having penetrated thus far alone before he was shot.
Early on the morning of December i the enemy evacuated their works, and
crossed Harpeth River, under fire from our batteries.
The Confederate Army followed and arrived before Nashville on the 2d,
and immediately commenced to fortify. The Third Maryland occupied a hill on
the right of and parallel with the Franklin Pike.
On the morning of the 15th the enemy charged the Confederate right wing,
but were repulsed with heavy loss. They next moved a heavy column against the
left, with better success, causing the whole army to fall back rapidly for the
distance of one mile.
On the morning of the eventful 16th of December the Third Maryland was
ordered to a hill in an open field a quarter of a mile to the left of the Franklin
pike. Defensive works for the battery were at once commenced, and rails to be
used in fortifying were brought from a fence some two hundreds yards in front.
The enemy discovering the working party, opened on them with six guns. The
horses were without cover and suffered severely till removed to a position behind
the hill. On returning to the battery. Lieutenant Ritter, being more experienced