There was some talk [at Rosecrans' headquarters] of falling back, I do not remember who started the subject, but...I said ...my men would be very much discouraged to have to abandon the field after their good fight of the day... Rosecrans, receiving men moving up and down with torches said...'They have got entirely in our rear and are forming a line of battle by torchlight!'...[he] told us to go to our commands and prepare to fight or die.
Thomas Crittenden, major general, coming the Left Wing
Soon after dark a small fire was built, and several of [our] men...had gathered to it... General Rosecrans came up and said 'You are my men and I don't like to have any of you hurt. Where the enemy see a fire like this, they know 25-30 men are gathered... and are sure to shoot at it. I advise you to put it out.' Scarcely was he done speaking, when... shot came just hight enough to miss the heads of the party, and a shell exploded just beyond.
Silas Canfield, captain, 21st Ohio Infantry Regiment
The groans of the poor wounded was heart-rending. I could not repress a few falling tears. I got off my horse and built fires for several-foe and friend. Many, many... that chilled to death... that night might have been saved could they but have had attendance.
John Magee, corporal, Stanford's Mississippi Light Artillery
Nearly 30,000 Union soldiers spent New Year's Eve 1862 concentrated along Nashville Pike, the same highway you see just ahead.