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battle of stones river facts

The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. The Battle of Stones River was fought December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Full title is: "Battle of Stone River. McCown was drawn away from the Wilkinson Turnpike as his men pursued the scattering Federals. The Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862–January 2, 1863) was a major engagement of the American Civil War fought 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Murfreesboro. Since neither side had swept the other from the field, the battle was a draw. Depicts Major General William S. Rosencrans on a black horse directing the battle on the left side of the image. After the December 31 fighting, Confederate cavalry operating in the Union rear reported that Rosecrans’s army was preparing to retreat. Upon breaking through the first line, his men were instructed to wheel and drive to interdict Rosecrans’s supply line on the Nashville Turnpike. The focal point of this new effort was a small cedar copse known as the Round Forest. The American Battlefield Trust and our members have saved more than 53,000 acres in 24 states! Kids Encyclopedia Facts The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro (in the South, simply the Battle of Murfreesboro), was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. While the blood soaked battlefield was a killing field for both Union and Confederate forces, the combined casualties were … Bragg’s decision to set up a headquarters far removed from the battlefield further added to the tactical confusion. When the battles concluded on January 2, 1863, there were 12,900 casualties for the Union and 11,700 for the Confederates. - Polk fought under Bragg at the Battle of Stones River in late 1862 and once again Bragg's subordinates politicked to remove their army commander after an unsuccessful battle (the battle was tactically inconclusive, but Bragg was unable to stop the advance of the Union Army of the Cumberland under Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans To expand your appreciation for this pivotal battle, please consider these ten facts about the Battle of Stones River. Bragg’s plan called for an attack on the Union right flank with over 10,000 men. Breckinridge sent his men forward at 4 P.M. on January 2. Ultimate General: Civil War's newest update has added the Battle of Chancellorsville and Stones River. This bloody fight near Murfreesboro saw more casualties than any other Tennessee battle, though there was no clear winner. Battle of Stones River | | Published by Kurz & Allison at 76 & 78 Wabash Avenue in Chicago. As 1862 drew to a close, President Abraham Lincoln was desperate for a military victory. Great book on Stones River. Instead, Rosecrans stayed in place and assembled fresh reinforcements. Reinforcements were slow to come to the aid of the Confederates, making it difficult to keep up a sustained attack. The Stones River watershed drains some 920 square miles (2,400 square km). The Union held off the assault easily, devastating the Confederates. Union troops had left Nashville on December 27th and were advancing toward the Confederates. The total area of the battlefield was about 4,000 acres. His stubbornness had robbed the Confederate assault of vital momentum. Breckinridge was halted again while this report was investigated and invalidated. But the Confederates would inevitably unwind like a ball of string as they advanced.”. Bragg called on John Breckinridge’s division to renew the attack, but Breckinridge was slow in responding. It was located in a rich agricultural region from which Bragg planned to provision his army and a position that he intended to use to block a potential Federal advance on Chattanooga. All through the war it was a center for strong Confederate sentiment, and Bragg and his men were warmly welcomed and entertained during the month of December. The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30 within 700 yards of one another. With his initial attack stalled and the Union army stubbornly keeping the field, Bragg decided to strike on the other side of the line at 10 A.M. The Battle of Stones River was the result of the attempt by the Confederate Army to force the Union troops out of Tennessee. Sheridan’s division was pulled out of the line at 11 A.M. and allowed to replenish their ammunition. Major General William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland led the Union. This new attack was led by Patrick Cleburne along with two fresh divisions under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Cheatham and Maj. Gen. Jones Withers. As part of Bragg’s attack force, John McCown did not want to reveal his position by the light of cook-fires on the morning of the 31st. They hoped that the Confederates would not be able to shift reinforcements in time to meet the combined attacks of  Ambrose E. Burnside in Virginia, William T. Rosecrans in Tennessee, and Ulysses S. Grant in Mississippi. On January 2, Bragg ordered an assault of a heavily armed Union troops near a hill east of Stones River. Bragg’s 35,000 men were arranged into two corps of infantry. His armies were stalled, and the terrible defeat at Fredericksburg spread a pall of defeat across the nation. Maj. Gen. Every purchase supports the mission. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. On the Union side, Major General William S. Rosecrans led 43,400 men while Confederate General Braxton Bragg led 37,712 men. The Battle of Stones River was a tactical draw, but a strategic Union victory. Colonel John Beatty’s Union brigade, composed of Midwestern troops from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, reinforce the right flank against Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne’s Confederates. Shows the Confederates attacking Union soldiers, who are on slightly higher ground. The day’s fighting would give it another name—“Hell’s Half-Acre.” Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk’s corps, its men exhausted after fighting against Sheridan, launched a series of piecemeal but violent attacks that failed to dislodge the Union defenders. As a result of the victory, the Union was able to use Nashville as a major supply depot throughout the course of the war. Bragg’s disinclination … Stones River National Battlefield. Total casualties were over 24,000 men in a battle in which the total number of opposing forces was about 76,000. If the charge was successful then Rosecrans’s rear would be exposed to a devastating artillery crossfire that could support a new attack in the western sector of the field. Approximately 5,000 Confederates crossed half a mile of open field, torn from front and flank by massed artillery, and nearly broke the Union line in a desperate charge. Although the Stones River Campaign, aka Battle of Stones River, was hailed as a Union victory, both sides limped off the battlefield to recover from the carnage. The blue line was eventually bent into a right angle along the Nashville Turnpike, but it was not broken. Crittenden’s corps, with Stones River on one side, extended across the Nashville Turnpike. Help preserve American history forever with your tax-deductible year-end gift today! The Union lost two generals and the Confederates lost two. Subsequent to the battle at Stones River, the general would be dogged by persistent rumors that he had been pitifully inebriated during the fighting. Instead, he distributed a whiskey ration—most welcome in the freezing weather—and ordered his men forward at dawn. In the final months of 1862, Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry Halleck decided to press the Confederacy on all fronts. Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne, leading the division supporting McCown’s attack, conducted the right wheel as Bragg ordered and unexpectedly found himself in the front line. The total area of the battlefield was about 4,000 acres. 34 Alabama and the 8th Mississippi Confederate Infantry. False information compounded the inadequacies of Bragg’s battle plan. The battle of Stones River was devastating for both sides and, of all the major Civil War battles, this had the highest percentage of casualties suffered. Unfortunately for the Confederates, Bragg’s orders were almost impossibly idealistic. Battle of Stones River: Union General Rosecrans Versus Confederate General Bragg Steadily the rain had pelted down all day, and now as wintry winds and darkness ushered in another miserable night at the mercy of the elements, the battle-tried veterans of Perryville, both Blue and Gray, struggled to find what fitful sleep they could. Additionally, the axis of advance would push the Union soldiers closer to their reinforcements while pulling the Confederates away from theirs. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Throughout five days of battle, the most intense being December 31 and January 2, the National Park Service claims that nearly 24,000 men on both sides became casualties out of 81,000 engaged—a 29% casualty rate. The soldier, Asa Lewis of the 6th Kentucky Infantry, had served with distinction and only went AWOL to assist his widowed mother on the family farm. Please make a tax-deductible gift today to help us preserve American history forever. Recommended Reading: No Better Place to Die: THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER (Civil War Trilogy). Shows info that other books have left out. The Battle of Stones River by William B. Kurtz After the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky in October 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg retreated with his Confederate soldiers back into Tennessee, eventually making his headquarters at the town of Murfreesboro, south of Nashville. The somewhat positive result of Bragg’s unforced retreat provided an important boost to Northern morale, turned international opinion further against the Confederacy, and solidified the Federal hold on Tennessee. In the battle, Confederate General Braxton Bragg and as many as 35,000 soldiers withdrew from Kentucky and took defensive positions in the city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. Bragg knew that Rosecrans was going to be receiving reinforcements. Federal Identification Number (EIN): 54-1426643. Please consider making a gift today to help raise the $170,000 we need to preserve this piece of American history forever. While the American Battlefield Trust has worked to protect Stones River, development continues to threaten this hallowed ground. This places the charge at Stones River behind only Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg in terms of attacker casualty percentage. Both generals decided the take the offensive the next day. Just northwest of Murfreesboro along the West Fork is the Stones River National Battlefield, site of the Battle of Stones River, a major Civil War battle that was fought from December 31, … Only reluctantly did Breckinridge did send his units into the Round Forest at 4 P.M., where they arrived too late to make an impact. The thick, cedar forest was surrounded on three sides that collapsed with no Southern victory. Looked at in summary, the Battle of Stones River is similar to the Battle of Shiloh, which took place in Tennessee nine months earlier. In the wake of the battle, several of his subordinates lobbied to have him replaced citing the failures at Perryville and Stones River. The Battle of Stones River, fought between December 31, 1862, and January 2, 1863, was a tactical draw but proved to be a strategic northern victory. The Battle of Stones River, although not as well known as either Shiloh or Antietam, surpassed both in terms of casualties. Divisions of the American Battlefield Trust: The American Battlefield Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. President Abraham Lincoln had recently given command to Rosecrans. Unwilling to relieve his friend, Davis, now the Confederate president, instructed the General Joseph Johnston , commander of Confederate forces in the West, to relieve Bragg if he though it necessary. Bragg’s position became untenable in the face of this new concentration. Union artillery fire at Confederate troops during the Battle of Stones River. The following morning, the last one of 1862, would certainly be the last for many of them. There, Union troops led by General William S. Rosecrans forced the retreat of the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg.… Battle of Stones River Detailed map showing the Union's forces' first and second positions and the Confederate forces' position "on … While Burnside met with disaster at Fredericksburg and Grant’s efforts against Vicksburg stalled, Rosecrans bemoaned a lack of supplies and did not advance until December 26. The Confederates were under the command of General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee. The Battle for Eastern Tennessee The Battle of Stones River, sometimes called the Battle of Murfreesboro, was one of the most violent engagements of the Civil War. Stones River, Battle of (1862–63).Stones River—also known as the Battle of Murfreesboro—was one of the costliest engagements of the Civil War in Tennessee. The Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862–January 2, 1863) was a major engagement of the American Civil War fought 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Murfreesboro. These casualty figures made the Battle of Stones River one of the bloodiest of the war. In the words of historian Grady McWhiney: “Like a snowball, the Federals would pick up strength from the debris of battle if they retreated in good order. There were over 23,000 casualties, giving the Battle of Stones River the highest percentage of casualties of any battle in the war. This battle was the culmination of the campaign in Middle Tennessee. Rosecrans’ army on the northwest side of the river was organized into three wings with three divisions each. Save History with Your Year-End Gift Today, Preserve 108 Acres of the Most Important Unprotected Battlefield Land, Save 40 Acres of the American Revolution Southern Theater, Kentuckians: Support Battlefield Preservation Legislation, Virginians: Support Battlefield Preservation Legislation, Battle of Stones River - Topographical Sketch. Bragg’s disinclination to renew the Confederate attack on January 1 allowed Rosecrans to strengthen his position and receive reinforcements. Bragg was only too willing to believe this news, and he confidently withheld a new assault and waited to take possession of an uncontested field. There was also the Emancipation Proclamation to consider. The Union was able to hold off a Confederate assault, although both sides saw very high percentages of casualties. Before Breckinridge redeployed, however, a courier arrived bearing word that another Union column was advancing east of the river. In fairness, if Bragg had attacked on New Year’s Day, he had no guarantee of success. Rosecrans’s Union Army of the Cumberland and Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee met on a battlefield outside of Murfreesboro on December 30. Only a hasty shifting of reinforcements protected Rosecrans’s position. His battle plan had achieved its objectives but not its goal—the Union army still held a strong defensive position. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here. He had grown frustrated with Don Carlos Buell's indecisiveness. A Hard Earned Victory The Battle of Stones River began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. The Union won the battle. Rosecrans, now holding a tight position with both flanks joined to Stones River, decided to extend his flank across to the eastern bank. "The history of the battle of Stone River" appears to the right of the map. Meanwhile, Bragg left 10,000 irreplaceable veterans in the cold cedar forests and became the target of ridicule from his lieutenants as he bottled himself up for months in Tullahoma. The Majority of our funds go directly to Preservation and Education. Near Murfreesborough, Tenn." Seems to have been partially hand colored. Review from Library Journal: Until now only three book-length studies of the bloody Tennessee battle near Stone's River existed, all old and none satisfactory by current historical standards. The opposing lines at Stones River spent the night of December 30 unusually close together. The Confederate assault on December 31 began before Rosecrans could put his plan in motion and thus forced the Union army to go on the defensive, but the flaws in Bragg’s plan reaped bloody consequences. Hardee no… Battle of Stones River The Battle of Stones River was fought between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. 81,000 soldiers fought in the battle. Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Stones River National Battlefield includes over 600 acres of preserved battlefield and a cemetery honoring those lost in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The Union had invaded Nashville and the Confederates were working on a plan to force the Union troops out of Tennessee. When the Union right crumbled at around 8 A.M., Phil Sheridan suddenly found himself attacked from three sides, his 5,000 men trying to hold off over 10,000 Southern veterans. The killing contributed to Breckinridge’s belief that Bragg did not have enough concern for the lives of his men. Interesting The Battle of Stones River Facts: The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. With the Confederate line overlapping his right, Sheridan conducted a fighting withdrawal through a large cedar forest with limestone outcroppings, now known as "The Slaughter Pen," to avoid being outflanked. Click here to learn more about the Trust's ongoing preservation efforts. This important book covers the late 1862 campaign and battle in detail. Battle of Stones River: Union General Rosecrans Versus Confederate General Bragg Steadily the rain had pelted down all day, and now as wintry winds and darkness ushered in another miserable night at the mercy of the elements, the battle-tried veterans of Perryville, both Blue and Gray, struggled to find what fitful sleep they could. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro w… On the 31st, Breckinridge relayed reports intimating that there was a large Federal force massing for an attack on the eastern side of Stones River. Over 1,800 attackers became casualties, roughly 36% of Breckinridge’s total force. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army's repulse of two Confederateattacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a m… This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. The American Battlefield Trust has saved important sections of battlefield land at the site of this crucial 1862-3 battle. Though a costly win, Rosecrans’ victory at Stones River secured Middle Tennessee for the Union for the remainder of the war. While Wheeler was causing grief in his army’s rear, Rosecrans spent most of the 30th moving his men into position for the coming battle. In some places the two armies were separated by only a few hundred yards. Following the failure of his Kentucky campaign the previous fall, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg positioned his Army of Tennessee (34,000 strong) to protect the railroad line running southeastward from Nashville into the heart of the Confederacy . Chickamauga, Shiloh, and Antietam had casualty rates of 29%, 26%, and 18%, respectively. Murfreesboro was a small town in the Stones River Valley, a former state capital named for a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, Hardy Murfree. Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. Help save a crucial 22-acre tract on the battlefield where 14 African American soldiers earned the highest military honor in the land. Both times, the Southern army attacked first and caught the Union troops eating breakfast. Why Stones River? Both of my Great Grandfathers Units are mention and shows the location during the battles. Despite the ferocity of the first day’s assault, it was diluted by false information. Donate today to preserve Civil War battlefields and the nation’s history for generations to come. Click to donate now. In the weeks that followed, however, it began to take the shape of a Union victory. Visitors explore the impact of the Battle of Stones River through living history events, interpretive programs, and hiking or … Knowing this, he ordered a retreat on January 3. Stones River National Battlefield - Now within a sprawling suburb of Nashville, the park today is small by battlefield park standards today (the battle covered 4,000 acres at the time), even though its fighting was certainly as important and tragic as many of the larger sites. Great addition to library and research of Stones River. The two had been at odds since an incident earlier that month, when a soldier in Breckinridge’s corps was executed for desertion. The Battle of Stones River (also known as the Second Battle of Murfreesboro) was a battle fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. Successful execution would require the massive attacking formation to maintain a cohesive shape as it changed direction across extremely difficult terrain—dense cedar thickets, stony outcroppings, rail fences—in the face of enemy fire. After the failed charge on January 2, Bragg realized that he could not win another fight against Rosecrans’s strengthened army and elected to retreat back to Tullahoma, Tennessee. He was captured and Bragg insisted on putting him before the firing squad despite Breckinridge’s vehement protests. The Confederates struck first but the Union put up a strong defense. The staggering losses at Stones River compelled both armies to spend months trying to regain their strength and come to terms with the causes of the winter bloodshed. Bragg responded by ordering Breckinridge to charge and pulverize this new position. This was untrue, and would have been discredited if Breckinridge had conducted proper reconnaissance. Gettysburg had a casualty rate of 31%. This information was finally proved wrong late in the morning and Bragg ordered Breckinridge to join the main line on the western side of the river. Despite the tactical failures in the east and west, the grand strategy paid off for Rosecrans--Confederate general Braxton Bragg, commanding the forces in Tennessee, sent approximately one-sixth of his infantry to reinforce Vicksburg on December 16. The armies spent January 1 dressing their lines and tending to their wounded. The furious assault caught some of the defenders while they were cooking their own breakfast and shattered the Union line. 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