Full title is: "Battle of Stone River. But the Confederates would inevitably unwind like a ball of string as they advanced.”. 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. The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30 within 700 yards of one another. False information compounded the inadequacies of Bragg’s battle plan. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. The Confederates were under the command of General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee. 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. 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. 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. This new attack was led by Patrick Cleburne along with two fresh divisions under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Cheatham and Maj. Gen. Jones Withers. Why Stones River? In the weeks that followed, however, it began to take the shape of a Union victory. As 1862 drew to a close, President Abraham Lincoln was desperate for a military victory. Upon breaking through the first line, his men were instructed to wheel and drive to interdict Rosecrans’s supply line on the Nashville Turnpike. 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. 34 Alabama and the 8th Mississippi Confederate Infantry. The armies spent January 1 dressing their lines and tending to their wounded. After the December 31 fighting, Confederate cavalry operating in the Union rear reported that Rosecrans’s army was preparing to retreat. 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 Majority of our funds go directly to Preservation and Education. The Battle of Stones River was the result of the attempt by the Confederate Army to force the Union troops out of Tennessee. 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. Since neither side had swept the other from the field, the battle was a draw. Major General William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland led the Union. The focal point of this new effort was a small cedar copse known as the Round Forest. The Battle of Stones River, although not as well known as either Shiloh or Antietam, surpassed both in terms of casualties. Click here to learn more about the Trust's ongoing preservation efforts. The Battle of Stones River was a tactical draw, but a strategic Union victory. 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. 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. Union artillery fire at Confederate troops during the Battle of Stones River. 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. As a result of the victory, the Union was able to use Nashville as a major supply depot throughout the course of the war. To expand your appreciation for this pivotal battle, please consider these ten facts about the Battle of Stones River. 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. Sheridan’s division was pulled out of the line at 11 A.M. and allowed to replenish their ammunition. While the American Battlefield Trust has worked to protect Stones River, development continues to threaten this hallowed ground. Bragg called on John Breckinridge’s division to renew the attack, but Breckinridge was slow in responding. Federal Identification Number (EIN): 54-1426643. Breckinridge sent his men forward at 4 P.M. on January 2. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro w… 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. The American Battlefield Trust has saved important sections of battlefield land at the site of this crucial 1862-3 battle. Reinforcements were slow to come to the aid of the Confederates, making it difficult to keep up a sustained attack. 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. On January 2, Bragg ordered an assault of a heavily armed Union troops near a hill east of Stones River. The Union was able to hold off a Confederate assault, although both sides saw very high percentages of casualties. Interesting The Battle of Stones River Facts: The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. 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. The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. Click to donate now. Total casualties were over 24,000 men in a battle in which the total number of opposing forces was about 76,000. While the blood soaked battlefield was a killing field for both Union and Confederate forces, the combined casualties were … Battle of Stones River The Battle of Stones River was fought between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. Bragg’s disinclination … Help preserve American history forever with your tax-deductible year-end gift today! The killing contributed to Breckinridge’s belief that Bragg did not have enough concern for the lives of his men. 81,000 soldiers fought in the battle. 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. Four brigadier generals were killed in the battle. This important book covers the late 1862 campaign and battle in detail. Maj. Gen. Despite the ferocity of the first day’s assault, it was diluted by false information. 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. Ultimate General: Civil War's newest update has added the Battle of Chancellorsville and Stones River. 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. The following morning, the last one of 1862, would certainly be the last for many of them. 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. There, Union troops led by General William S. Rosecrans forced the retreat of the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg.… Battle of Stones River This bloody fight near Murfreesboro saw more casualties than any other Tennessee battle, though there was no clear winner. Only a hasty shifting of reinforcements protected Rosecrans’s position. The two had been at odds since an incident earlier that month, when a soldier in Breckinridge’s corps was executed for desertion. 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. Rosecrans, now holding a tight position with both flanks joined to Stones River, decided to extend his flank across to the eastern bank. Over 1,800 attackers became casualties, roughly 36% of Breckinridge’s total force. Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. Union troops had left Nashville on December 27th and were advancing toward the Confederates. 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. Donate today to preserve Civil War battlefields and the nation’s history for generations to come. 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. 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. 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. His battle plan had achieved its objectives but not its goal—the Union army still held a strong defensive position. The total area of the battlefield was about 4,000 acres. The Stones River watershed drains some 920 square miles (2,400 square km). Shows info that other books have left out. Bragg knew that Rosecrans was going to be receiving reinforcements. Visitors explore the impact of the Battle of Stones River through living history events, interpretive programs, and hiking or … 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. Recommended Reading: No Better Place to Die: THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER (Civil War Trilogy). Detailed map showing the Union's forces' first and second positions and the Confederate forces' position "on … 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 history of the battle of Stone River" appears to the right of the map. Additionally, the axis of advance would push the Union soldiers closer to their reinforcements while pulling the Confederates away from theirs. 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 was fought December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865). 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. When the battles concluded on January 2, 1863, there were 12,900 casualties for the Union and 11,700 for the Confederates. Both generals decided the take the offensive the next day. The Slaughter Pen is pivotal within the story of Stones River. 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