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Bragg called on John Breckinridge’s division to renew the attack, but Breckinridge was slow in responding. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here. 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 American Battlefield Trust has saved important sections of battlefield land at the site of this crucial 1862-3 battle. The thick, cedar forest was surrounded on three sides that collapsed with no Southern victory. As a result of the victory, the Union was able to use Nashville as a major supply depot throughout the course of the war. There, Union troops led by General William S. Rosecrans forced the retreat of the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg.… Battle of Stones River Instead, Rosecrans stayed in place and assembled fresh reinforcements. Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Bragg knew that Rosecrans was going to be receiving reinforcements. Help preserve American history forever with your tax-deductible year-end gift today! 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 killing contributed to Breckinridge’s belief that Bragg did not have enough concern for the lives of his men. In the wake of the battle, several of his subordinates lobbied to have him replaced citing the failures at Perryville and Stones River. Depicts Major General William S. Rosencrans on a black horse directing the battle on the left side of the image. The Battle of Stones River was fought December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865). 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. Additionally, the axis of advance would push the Union soldiers closer to their reinforcements while pulling the Confederates away from theirs. The Union victory gave the U.S. control of Nashville for the duration of the war. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. Despite the ferocity of the first day’s assault, it was diluted by false information. Why Stones River? Only a hasty shifting of reinforcements protected Rosecrans’s position. Knowing this, he ordered a retreat on January 3. 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. 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. He was captured and Bragg insisted on putting him before the firing squad despite Breckinridge’s vehement protests. 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. Bragg’s disinclination to renew the Confederate attack on January 1 allowed Rosecrans to strengthen his position and receive reinforcements. 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. In fairness, if Bragg had attacked on New Year’s Day, he had no guarantee of success. Bragg’s position became untenable in the face of this new concentration. 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. Rosecrans’ army on the northwest side of the river was organized into three wings with three divisions each. The Battle of Stones River was a tactical draw, but a strategic Union victory. 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. 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. Bragg’s decision to set up a headquarters far removed from the battlefield further added to the tactical confusion. Great book on Stones River. The Battle of Stones River was the result of the attempt by the Confederate Army to force the Union troops out of Tennessee. Gettysburg had a casualty rate of 31%. 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. 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. As 1862 drew to a close, President Abraham Lincoln was desperate for a military victory. This bloody fight near Murfreesboro saw more casualties than any other Tennessee battle, though there was no clear winner. Both generals decided the take the offensive the next day. 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. The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. 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. After the December 31 fighting, Confederate cavalry operating in the Union rear reported that Rosecrans’s army was preparing to retreat. The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30 within 700 yards of one another. Unfortunately for the Confederates, Bragg’s orders were almost impossibly idealistic. Breckinridge was halted again while this report was investigated and invalidated. 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. The furious assault caught some of the defenders while they were cooking their own breakfast and shattered the Union line. 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. Sheridan’s division was pulled out of the line at 11 A.M. and allowed to replenish their ammunition. Help save a crucial 22-acre tract on the battlefield where 14 African American soldiers earned the highest military honor in the land. The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. 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. 34 Alabama and the 8th Mississippi Confederate Infantry. Divisions of the American Battlefield Trust: The American Battlefield Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. 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. Visitors explore the impact of the Battle of Stones River through living history events, interpretive programs, and hiking or … The Union was able to hold off a Confederate assault, although both sides saw very high percentages of casualties. "The history of the battle of Stone River" appears to the right of the map. The Union had invaded Nashville and the Confederates were working on a plan to force the Union troops out of Tennessee. In the final months of 1862, Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry Halleck decided to press the Confederacy on all fronts. The total area of the battlefield was about 4,000 acres. 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. Stones River National Battlefield. Donate today to preserve Civil War battlefields and the nation’s history for generations to come. The Battle of Stones River, although not as well known as either Shiloh or Antietam, surpassed both in terms of casualties. The Union won the battle. Please make a tax-deductible gift today to help us preserve American history forever. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. The Confederates struck first but the Union put up a strong defense. On the Union side, Major General William S. Rosecrans led 43,400 men while Confederate General Braxton Bragg led 37,712 men. This places the charge at Stones River behind only Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg in terms of attacker casualty percentage. Major General William Rosecrans and his Army of the Cumberland led the Union. Rosecrans, now holding a tight position with both flanks joined to Stones River, decided to extend his flank across to the eastern bank. - 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 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. Shows the Confederates attacking Union soldiers, who are on slightly higher ground. 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. To expand your appreciation for this pivotal battle, please consider these ten facts about the Battle of Stones River. Please consider making a gift today to help raise the $170,000 we need to preserve this piece of American history forever. Subsequent to the battle at Stones River, the general would be dogged by persistent rumors that he had been pitifully inebriated during the fighting. Full title is: "Battle of Stone River. 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. Every purchase supports the mission. The Majority of our funds go directly to Preservation and Education. While the American Battlefield Trust has worked to protect Stones River, development continues to threaten this hallowed ground. There were over 23,000 casualties, giving the Battle of Stones River the highest percentage of casualties of any battle in the war. Though a costly win, Rosecrans’ victory at Stones River secured Middle Tennessee for the Union for the remainder of the war. Recommended Reading: No Better Place to Die: THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER (Civil War Trilogy). Bragg’s disinclination … The Confederates were under the command of General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee. The Union lost two generals and the Confederates lost two. 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. Union artillery fire at Confederate troops during the Battle of Stones River. The blue line was eventually bent into a right angle along the Nashville Turnpike, but it was not broken. This important book covers the late 1862 campaign and battle in detail. Four brigadier generals were killed in the battle. Interesting The Battle of Stones River Facts: The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. Bragg’s plan called for an attack on the Union right flank with over 10,000 men. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro w… Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Chickamauga, Shiloh, and Antietam had casualty rates of 29%, 26%, and 18%, respectively. Before Breckinridge redeployed, however, a courier arrived bearing word that another Union column was advancing east of the river. 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. Breckinridge sent his men forward at 4 P.M. on January 2. 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. Shows info that other books have left out. McCown was drawn away from the Wilkinson Turnpike as his men pursued the scattering Federals. 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 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 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. 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. Total casualties were over 24,000 men in a battle in which the total number of opposing forces was about 76,000. There was also the Emancipation Proclamation to consider. The Union held off the assault easily, devastating the Confederates. 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. 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. His battle plan had achieved its objectives but not its goal—the Union army still held a strong defensive position. The American Battlefield Trust and our members have saved more than 53,000 acres in 24 states! False information compounded the inadequacies of Bragg’s battle plan. Click to donate now. While the blood soaked battlefield was a killing field for both Union and Confederate forces, the combined casualties were … 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. 81,000 soldiers fought in the battle. 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. Battle of Stones River The Battle of Stones River was fought between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. 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. Battle of Stones River | | Published by Kurz & Allison at 76 & 78 Wabash Avenue in Chicago. These casualty figures made the Battle of Stones River one of the bloodiest of the war. 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