The South Carolina in the Civil War Message Board


The Official Records covering the Stone’s River Campaign are missing numerous battle reports. The absence of these reports can be contributed to any one of several reasons. The wounding or death of a commander resulted in no report, a delayed report, or the failure of a subordinate to make a report. Colonel John Beatty, commanding a brigade Rousseau’s division, made the point precisely when he wrote on this subject in his memoirs. He wrote that when called upon to immediately make a report of the operations of his brigade that he found it impossible to gather up reports from his regimental commanders with one having been killed, one wounded and one captured. That explains Colonel Beatty’s disappointing report in the Official Records. Another good example is Brigadier General Edward N. Kirk, commanding a brigade in McCook’s corps, who was severely wounded on 31 December, 1862. It was not until several months later while convalescing and shortly before his death that he submitted a battle report. The were numerous other reasons for missing reports, tardiness, lost some where along the way to headquarters, etc.

As part of the research for a book I am writing on the battle, I am searching for the reports that for whatever reasons are missing from the Official Records. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I know for a fact that some commanders sent a duplicate copy of their battle report or a separately written report to their respective state governor, especially those who owed their position to a political patron. Others sent reports to their state’s adjutant general.

In the case of Confederate reports, there are dismal gaps existing in the Official Records for Murfreesboro (Stone’s River). Like their Northern counterparts, they sent battle reports back to their governors. An example here would be Colonel Robert B. Vance, 29th North Carolina Infantry, who sent a special report back to his state’s adjutant general’s office.

I am convinced that most of Stone’ River battle reports that are missing from the Official Records are out there. I plan to post this on all of the Civil War Message Boards with the hope of getting some help. I thank you for your interest and time.

Best Regards and GOD’s Blessings,

L.K. Smith