Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the Seventy-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania
Volunteers, from the time of leaving camp near Mill Creek, Tenn., December 26, 1862, to January 3, 1863, viz:
We broke up our camp, near Mill Creek, December 26, sent our wagon train to Nashville, and took
up our line of march in the direction of Shelbyville, on the Nolensville turnpike, and encamped in the evening a short distance
beyond Nolensville. December 27 we continued our march in the same direction, and on the same road. At 8 A.M.
we encountered the enemy within two miles of Triune. We were immediately placed in position, with the balance of our
brigade on the left of the road. Our front line was composed with the Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers on the left, the
Thirty-fourth Illinois Volunteers on the right, and the Thirtieth Indiana Volunteers in the centre. Our regiment and
the Seventy-ninth regiment Illinois Volunteers were held in reserve, but were advanced with the brigade, our regiment covering
the Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers. Skirmishers were thrown forward by each of the three first named regiments, as
also were two companies of the Seventy-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which occupied the extreme left of the line.
In this manner we advanced towards Triune, driving the enemy from his position and took possession of the town, the enemy
retreating towards Shelbyville. We encamped about one mile beyond Triune, near the turnpike.
December 28. We remained in camp, where we stopped the evening before.
December 29. We retraced our march, on the same road, for two miles, and turned off on
a dirt road, running in an easterly course into the Salem turnpike, at the junction of which two roads we, silently and without
fires, encamped for the night.
December 30. We marched towards Murfreesborough, on the Salem turnpike, for about three
miles, when we were thrown into column by division, into the woods on the right of the road, with the balance of our brigade
and division. At this time heavy skirmishing was going on on our left, and in front. We advanced for a short distance,
when our regiment and the Thirtieth Indiana Volunteers were ordered to change front to the right, deploy column and throw
our skirmishers. We then advanced, moving towards the right of the general line of battle, for about a quarter of a
mile. We then changed front to the left, and occupied a dense cedar grove. The position of our regiment was now
on the right of the Twenty-second Indiana Volunteers, of General Davis' division. It was here that we received a heavy
fire from the rebel battery, that was stationed to the right, and in front of us, in an open field, by the edge of the wood,
at a distance of about 500 yards. After a sharp skirmish it was silenced, when we threw out our pickets and remained
for the night. Our position was now on the left of our brigade, and on the right of Davis' division.
December 31. We were under arms at 4 A.M., and, at daylight, we discovered the enemy,
in large force, within 60 yards of our pickets, who immediately commenced firing, when the enemy advanced to a furious attack.
As the pickets retired, our regiment advanced to meet the enemy, and resisted their attack with desperate valor, repulsing
the forces immediately in our front with great slaughter and compelling them to retire across the brook, where we first found
them posted, into a corn field beyond. This was the first attack that was made on our lines, but almost at the same
time the enemy's columns, which were directed on those regiments on our right pressed furiously onward, bearing down everything
before them. The regiments on our right fell back after a short but desperate resistance, as was shown by the great
mortality on both sides. Soon after this, the regiment on our left changed position to our rear, leaving our regiment
completely isolated and battling against great odds, with the danger of being surrounded. We were ordered to retire
for about 150 yards, and then march to the right, in order, if possible, to reattach ourselves to the balance of our brigade,
which had been driven from its first position. While doing this we fell in with a portion of General Davis' divsion,
and were advised that we had better co-operate with that division for the present, as our brigade had, by that time, retired
so far that it would consume much valuable time in finding it, time that could be used at this particular juncture to greater
advantage by re-inforcing one of his (Davis') brigades. We posted ourselves on the right of Davis' division, in front
of which was a rebel battery, at a distance of about 400 yards. A little to the right and in front of this was Edgarton's
battery, which had been previously captured by the rebels in the onset and was still in their possession.
It was here that our regiment charged alone, recapturing Edgarton's battery, and up to the guns
of the rebel battery, through a hurricane of grape and canister, until we were confronted by several thousand of the rebel
infantry, when, as we were unsupported, we were obliged to retire to the line from which we had started on the charge, leaving
our much loved battery in the hands of the rebels, as we had no means of moving it off. Yet we were repaid for this
desperate charge, as much as for any we made during the day, in damaging the enemy and holding him in check.
We retired in good order, halted and formed in our previous position, on the right of Davis'
division. Here Colonel Housum fell. The battle was here hotly contested for some time, when our forces began to
give way, fiercely pursued by the enemy, who came near taking a battery of ours at this place.
As soon as the battery was safely off, we retired to the fence on the opposite side of the field,
where we stood alone for some time, contending with the rebels, until they commenced scaling the fence on our right and left,
when we retired to the woods and again made a stand. We thus continued for some time, taking advantage of everything
that came in our way, moving slowly, and our line never broke once throughout the day; but we fought every time we could find
a line to rest on, or whenever we could gain a position in which we could, for a minute, successfully make a stand.
When we came near the Nashville and Murfreesborough turnpike we fell in with a portion of the
Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers, under the gallant Major Collins; also a portion of the Thirtieth Indiana Volunteers.
These, with our regiment, were now joined together as a remnant of the old Fifth brigade, under Colonel Dodge, as brigade
commander. We were posted, on the edge of the woods, by General Johnson, on the right of General Van Cleve's division,
which had just come up. The rebels were now coming on with tenfold more impetuosity, and our men were ordered to lie
down quietly behind a fence, which partly protected us. We waited here until the rebels were within a short distance,
when we up and delivered our fire with such great effect that the rebels began to give way.
We now pitched into them with whoop and yell, all the time delivering a most destructive fire,
and soon the whole rebel column was in full retreat. We drove them half a mile, when our ammunition gave out and we
were relieved, when we retired to the railroad to obtain a fresh supply. This was the first check of importance that
the rebels received, as it saved our ammunition train and secured for our forces an important position.
January 1. 1863. We remained under arms on the crest of the hill, where we ended our final
charge on the 31st ultimo. At 4 P.M. we received a heavy fire from a rebel battery, which was soon silenced.
January 2, 1863. Remained in the same position as on the 1st. A heavy battle was
fought on our left, in which we took no part. In the evening we went on picket. A heavy skirmish took place immediately
in front of our line.
January 3, 1863. Still remained under arms in our old position. At night, in the
midst of the rain, the last final struggle was made, in which we took no part.
During this great battle our little regiment did no discredit to the old Keystone State.
Officers and men stood up and did their duty nobly.
That our line never broke shows that our men fought like veterans. We went into action with 288 men, we lost in
killed 5, including Lieutenant Colonel Housum; in wounded 29, including one commissioned officer: missing 29, including 2
commissioned officers. Total, 63. Of those missing the greater part were either killed or taken prisoners.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully your obedient servant,
TOM ELLWOOD ROSE,
Captain Commanding Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Capt. D. C. Wagner,
Acting Assistant Adjutant General, Second Brigade