Following are the events as they unfolded for Wood's Brigade of Cleburne's Division at the river near Murfreesboro on Wednesday of the second day of the battle.
From Gen. Cleburne’s report of this fight:
On the morning of January 1, there were rumors that the enemy was retreating. I was ordered by General Hardee to push forward, feel the enemy, and ascertain the true state of affairs in our front. Liddell’s brigade was moved forward and to the left, and drove the enemy’s skirmishers back at least a quarter of a mile, and beyond a white house used as a Federal hospital, and situated on the small dirt road near which our last fight of the day before occurred...
Liddell again swept the Nashville turnpike with his artillery, and greatly disturbed the enemy’s trains, which could be seen on and near it. Receiving another message from General Hardee to the effect that he had ordered me to feel the enemy, and could not hear my guns, and at the same time receiving information from General Liddell that he was in line of battle near the hospital just mentioned, and needed immediate support on his right, I ordered General Wood to move his brigade forward cautiously, and support Liddell on the right, but I also informed him that the object was merely to ascertain whether the enemy was still in force in our front, not to bring on a general battle. Wood’s brigade moved forward, and I moved Johnson’s skirmishers forward en echelon on Wood’s right flank, so as to protect him as much as possible. Wood’s brigade formed line close to the dirt road last mentioned, immediately became hotly engaged with a large force of the enemy, which advanced on him out of the cedars where our repulse of the day before occurred. He found that Liddell was not on his left, as expected, having previously fallen back; he also discovered that the enemy were flanking him on the left with another heavy force. At this time he received an order direct from General Hardee not to bring on a general battle. He ceased firing and fell back, leaving several killed and wounded on the ground. Some of the men of the Forty-fifth Mississippi Regiment had gone so far ahead that retreat was impossible; they remained where they were, and fell into the hand of the enemy. Wood must have lost nearly 100 in killed, wounded, and prisoners in this fight. It was now clear the enemy was still in force in my front, and I so reported it.
If, at the moment when the enemy were driven from the thick woods north of the Wilkinson turnpike, a fresh division could have replaced Cleburne’s exhausted troops and followed up the victory, the rout of Rosecrans’ army would have been complete. The interval required to collect and reform our lines, now shattered by four successive conflicts, was occupied by the enemy in planting heavy batteries and massing fresh columns of infantry to oppose our further advance. I sent for re-enforcements. The commanding general [Bragg] replied he had none to give me.