battle of stones river history
Colonel William H. Gibson, commanding the 49th Ohio of Willich’s brigade, recalled later that ‘at dawn of day orders were received to build fires and make coffee. The battle pitted the Army of the Cumberland under Major General William S. Rosecrans against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lieutenant General Braxton Bragg. The Ohio artillerists made the dismounted Texans pay a heavy price for assaulting the battery, but the Lone Star soldiers succeeded in overrunning the gun crews, capturing Edgarton and a number of his men and horses. Major General William S. Rosecrans assumed command of the Army of the Ohio and reconstituted it as the Army of the Cumberland. Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States. 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 was a major three-day conflict of the American Civil War. Five hundred yards in the rear, Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne’s division anxiously awaited the order to join the advance. The Battle of Stones River began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. At the same time, the Confederate government unwisely permitted Robert E. Lee’s commissary general, Lucius Northrop, to purchase existing foodstuffs for the Army of Northern Virginia in the middle Tennessee region while Bragg’s command was fighting at Perryville. Within minutes both units had been bushwhacked. Battle of Stones River page with battle maps, history articles, photos, recommended books and more for this important 1862-1863 Civil War battle in Tennessee. The Battle of Stones River. Zeb Vance) 60th North Carolina Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Stones River, by Colonel McDowell. Dysart moved his regiment into an open field just as McCown’s Rebels broke through the cedar brakes to the east. Carl Gnam. Section Two, Fire! The Battle of Stones River: Into the Cauldron On the last day of 1862, Confederates under General Braxton Bragg launched a surprise attack on Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans’s Army … Sub Era: On the evening of Tuesday, December 30, Rosecrans and Bragg faced each other a few miles west of Murfreesboro. Recommended Reading: Winter Lightning: A Guide to the Battle of Stones River. Statista. In the ensuing artillery fire, Marks fell severely wounded, and command devolved upon Lt. Col. Watt Floyd. Without debate Bragg assented; the assault would begin at dawn on Wednesday, December 31. On the left of the 34th Illinois, the 29th Indiana was responding promptly to the Confederate assault. After firing four or five volleys while lying in a prone position, the obstinate Hoosiers joined the dash to the rear. As Locke’s Texans closed upon the line of Illinois troops, pushing ahead of them the fugitives from Kirk’s brigade, Lt. Col. Charles Truman Hotchkiss, commanding the 89th, ordered his men to lie down. He has published two books with the History Press: Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat. Orders were circulated that no fires would be permitted that Tuesday evening, and Edgarton’s Ohioans bit down on flinty hardtack and drank cold and brackish water as they sullenly watched the brigade of Union Brig. Unlike the two Federal divisions farther south, Sheridan had his soldiers alert and ready prior to the dawn attack. 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. Stones River National Battlefield. It flows roughly parallel to, but west of, I… The 5th Kentucky (Union) formed the second line, with the 93rd Ohio acting as brigade reserve. Read the rest of the Stone River Battle Article, 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 term “slaughter” emanates cold chills down the spine of any individual in Rutherford County. Leonidas Polk and William J. Hardee, Polk suggested that his corps strike the right wing of McCook’s corps. Dismayed, the major saw more Rebels than he had ever seen before–five times as many men as he had himself. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. Battle of Stones River. Colonel Hans Heg, commanding the 15th Wisconsin, maneuvered his regiment where it could best cover the retreat of the remaining troops and slowed down the Confederate advance long enough to get out the infantry and the brigade’s artillery. Although the tide was rolling against them, the Union troops gamely tried to slow the Confederate attack. While Rosecrans held the initiative, his army was so battered from the battle that it would not campaign again for another six months. God grant that you may quadruple the obligation. An extended lull fell over the western armies following the Battle of Perryville in the fall of 1862. Click to donate now. The war was not going very smoothly for the Union States and President Lincoln was desperate for a win. As you’ve no doubt seen in the battles that have preceded this one on this list, the number of casualties was only one thing that determined the winner of each particular battle. Chart. Both times, the Southern army attacked first and caught the Union troops eating breakfast. The Stones River is composed of three major forks: the West, Middle, and East forks. The following morning, the last one of 1862, would certainly be the last for many of them. The Confederates had been thrown back in the east, west, and in the Trans-Mississippi. Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, English astronomer who confirmed Einstein's theory of relativity. On average, a tour of Stones River Battlefield and its museum lasts around two hours. The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30 within 700 yards of one another. Stones River National Cemetery, which is nearby, is a military graveyard where 6,100 Union soldiers are buried. Stones River: Philip Sheridan’s rise to military fame Brigadier General Philip H. Sheridan sat pensively in his command tent the evening of January 9, 1863, and stared at the paper on his camp desk. 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. Moving swiftly, Maj. Gen. John McCown’s Confederate division piled out of the fog and mist, rushing toward the Union line. This article was written by Robert Cheeks and originally appeared in the September 1999 issue of America’s Civil War magazine. The new commander’s primary responsibility was to return the army to its nominal strength–nearly 7,000 soldiers had deserted since the bloodbath at Perryville–in order to prepare it for an advance into Tennessee. Harber’s History Lesson: Slaughter Pen was preeminent in Civil War history at Stones River. General Braxton Bragg ’s 34,700-man Confederate army was confronted on Stones River near Murfreesboro by 41,400 Union troops under General William S. Rosecrans, who had orders to drive Bragg out of eastern Tennessee. Gen. Lucius Polk’s command was becoming dangerously exposed as it moved to keep up with the other brigades. Carlin tried to withdraw his brigade in an orderly manner, but both he and his mount were hit by rifle fire and knocked down. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Erdelmeyer was unable to get his seven companies of the 32nd Indiana into line before they were swamped. Stones River, Tennessee (December 31 1862 – Jan 2 1863) By late 1862, the war was in full swing. Go. Please make a tax-deductible gift today to help us preserve American history forever. 1 of 3 Go to page. The Union victory gave the U.S. control of … Historical Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900. Braxton Bragg gave up the field on January 3 and withdrew his forces southward to Tullahoma. Rosecrans put his army’s three wings on the road for the Tennessee capital on November 4, with the van of the army arriving three days later. The 10th and 11th Texas Cavalry (dismounted) and the 4th Arkansas drove into the 89th Illinois. Major General George H. Thomas’ center wing took up the Federal line, followed by Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden’s left wing, whose own left was secured by Stones River. Salmon P. Chase to Rosecrans after Stones River the Battle of Stones River … In late afternoon, Bragg hurled a division at a Union division that, on January 1, had crossed Stones River and had taken up a strong position on the bluff east of the river. Edgarton’s military career was over, but at least he had his life–unlike many soldiers who were there during the rout of the Union right that cold December morning in 1862. Kirk was shot down while attempting to rally his infantry. Four hundred yards northwest of Post’s position, Colonel Philemon Baldwin, commanding the 3rd Bri-gade of Richard Johnson’s 2nd Division, had no sooner prepared for the Confederate assault than the enemy, in immense masses, appeared in my front at short range, their left extending far beyond the extreme right of my line. Great book on Stones River. 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. Men of Hardee’s corps drove many Federals back across Stones River. 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. Edgarton kept the horses in harness, hobbled near the guns and caissons. The two remaining regiments, the 59th Illinois and 22nd Indiana, formed on the west side of the lane, with Captain Oscar Pinney’s 5th Wisconsin Battery dropping trail in a cornfield between the two regiments. The following morning, the last one of 1862, would certainly be the last for many of them. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro w… Donate today to preserve battlefields in America and protect the legacy of our nation’s defining conflicts. When the firing started, Dysart quickly got his regiment moved into line, then went looking for Willich. Edgarton, Lieutenant Albert G. Ransom and their men managed to get one or two of their Parrot rifles into battery and fired shells and canister at the fast-closing enemy. The Ohioans did not even have time to grab their stacked muskets before the wild-eyed Texans swept through their campsite. On the eve of the Battle of Stones River, the mood among the leaders of the Army of Tennessee was one of tension and uncertainty. Rosecrans’ army on the northwest side of the river was organized into three wings with three divisions each. Jan 17, 2014 - The Battle of Stones River was fought during the American Civil War between December 31, 1862 and January 3, 1863 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. By Christmas, Rosecrans had solved his most vexing problem, the lack of rations. The pro-Union counties of eastern Tennessee offered little resistance to the occupation of... 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, Stones River - December 31, 1862 - 6am to 10am, Stones River - December 31, 1862 - 1pm to 3:30pm. Post ordered the guns limbered up and withdrawn, but 18 of the battery horses were down, leaving two badly shot-up beasts to pull one of the Parrott rifles. In the meantime, Rosecrans consolidated his battered army and established a fortified supply base at Murfreesboro, which would serve the Army of the Cumberland later that year in its drive toward Chattanooga. Bragg retreated from the area on January 3, and Rosecrans claimed victory–an unlikely outcome considering the catastrophe his forces had suffered on December 31. The following day, January 1, 1863, both sides paused to catch their breath and regain some of their strength, and no major fighting took place. Check the Calendar or our Facebook page for program times and detailed program descriptions. One can easily count the number of volumes dedicated solely to the battle on the fingers of one hand. One of the most unique moments of the Civil War occurred on the eve of the Battle of Stones River. 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.. Of the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Facing the ferocious Federal gunfire, the attacking Southerners threw themselves down in order to avoid the deadly blasts. Gen. August Willich form on their flank facing due south. John C. Mendenhall, who positioned nearly 50 cannon hub-to-hub and blasted away at the Confederate attackers. Words eluded him as he set aside his post-action combat report and mused for a moment, remembering an old friend, now dead. Beatty was soon forced back with heavy losses. Though a costly win, Rosecrans’ victory at Stones River secured Middle Tennessee for the Union for the remainder of the war. The Battle of Stones River was fought December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The artillery, coupled with a Union counterattack, proved too much for Bragg’s men. Union regiments of Colonel William Carlin’s 2nd Brigade caught the unsuspecting Rebels in motion and volleyed into their massed lines. Includes numbered key to identify troops and positions. Load solid shot, fire by section, on my command! The artillerists of Battery E were tired and famished after the action, and Kirk allowed them to go into bivouac amid a grove of cedars 100 yards behind their initial position. Subsequent to the battle at Stones River, the general would be dogged by persistent rumors that he had been pitifully inebriated during the fighting. With that threat removed, Rosecrans moved south at once to challenge Bragg. John Von Neumann, Hungarian-born mathematician. American Battlefield Trust. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. The Federal line was once again salvaged, this time due to the courageous efforts of Capt. Lieutenant Colonel F.A. Today on December 31, 1862, Union and Confederate forces clash at the Battle of 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. On the right, Brig. History Themes . This battle was the culmination of the campaign in Middle Tennessee. On Willich’s left, in a southwest-northeast line, the brigades of McCook’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions fell in, anchored on their left by the Wilkinson Turnpike, a road that ran east of the Nashville Turnpike. The West Fork, 39.1 miles (62.9 km) long, rises in southernmost Rutherford County near the Bedford County line. Details Location: 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.All through the war it was a center for strong Confederate sentiment, and Bragg (Confederate) and his men were warmly welcomed and entertained during the month of December. The men of the 59th Illinois ran to the guns, tied ropes to them and began to pull them out of the fray. Covered by a cedar thicket, the gunners moved to within 700 yards of the Rebels, went into battery, and blasted out six rounds of solid shot. Paine commented, I do not know how long we remained in that position, but my men poured a deadly and destructive fire upon the enemy. Simonson, however, switched his battery to canister, obliqued his Parrott rifles, lowered his barrels to zero degrees and fired. The Battle of Stones River was a tactical draw, but a strategic Union victory. Locke, commanding the 10th Texas, had suffered at the hands of Edgarton’s guns earlier; nearly 80 soldiers of the regiment had been knocked down in the assault. The 32nd and the 39th Indiana, posted on the Franklin Road, were hit simultaneously by McNair’s shock troops and Kirk’s fleeing men. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here. After two days of heavy fighting near Stones River, which saw Union troops repel two major Confederate attacks, Bragg disengaged and fell back to Tullahoma, TN. Upon hearing the initial firing, Lt. Col. David M. Dunn ordered Lieutenant S.O. Visitors explore the impact of the Battle of Stones River through living history events, interpretive programs, and hiking or biking along seven miles of trails. The battery’s horses needed water, but in the darkness, with the enemy so near, the horses would have to wait until morning. Kirk assuaged the young captain’s fears by replying that his cannons would be well-protected and that the Union infantrymen would provide sufficient time to limber up the guns and go into battery in the event it proved necessary. Living History Programs Join us for an opportunity to see demonstrations of Civil War weapons and equipment while learning more about the people affected by the Battle of Stones River. Pinney shouted as he cast his gaze along the line of eager Confederate infantrymen 1,000 yards to his front. Altogether, Rosecrans counted nearly 60,000 effectives. Bragg had waited all day Tuesday to receive a Federal attack that never materialized. July 26, 2019. Post’s amalgamated force of three Illinois regiments and one Indiana regiment fell in along a lane, with the 74th and 75th Illinois, both novice regiments, posted behind a split-rail fence on the east side of the road. Every purchase supports the mission. Now, moving in column with their infantry support, Brigadier General Richard W. Johnson’s 2nd Division of Major General William S. Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland, the Buckeye gunners were on their way to cover the right flank of Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis’ division, advancing down the Franklin Road three miles or so west of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While they were falling back, Cleburne’s usually well-oiled division was attempting to execute the right wheel movement that Bragg had ordered. Colonel M.F. Lieutenant Colonel Levi H. Drake then briefly led the 49th until he fell dead while cheering on his men. 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. Willich’s 1st Brigade lay on the extreme right of Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. 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 regiment immediately took a volley of musketry and smartly returned a fusillade of its own. sesquicentennial series on the Civil War. Pinney’s fire found the mark. 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. Following the failure of his Kentucky campaign the previous fall, Confederate Gen. At 3 a.m. Lt. Col. Fielder A. Jones, commanding the 39th Indiana, sent a company forward to probe the woods on the regiment’s front. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, and the President expected his generals to bring home as many victories as possible by January 1, 1863—when he would officially sign the act—to give this new measure backbone. Stones River National Battlefield: history who know - See 773 traveler reviews, 508 candid photos, and great deals for Murfreesboro, TN, at Tripadvisor. In fact, as a proportion of the forces involved, the Battle of Stones River was among the bloodiest of the entire war. The Middle Fork, 19.8 miles (31.9 km) long, rises in an area of low hills, or knobs, also near the line with Bedford County, near Hoovers Gap, an important troop movement route during the American Civil War. His face flushed red, and his thoughts went back to the day before the New Year, the day of the Battle of Stones River, the day he wrecked his division to save the army. 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. Great addition to library and research of Stones River. Bragg, too, focused on the east side of the river, and near 4 p.m. on January 2, the Confederate leader renewed his efforts to dislodge the Army of the Cumberland. Captured, discredited and dishonored, Edgarton would be exchanged a few months later and then be called upon to report why he had sent half his horses to be watered on the morning of the fateful assault. 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. Details Location: 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.All through the war it was a center for strong Confederate sentiment, and Bragg (Confederate) and his men were warmly welcomed and entertained during the month of December. Civil War. Forums. 157th Anniversary of the Battle of Stones River Living History Programs - December 28-29, 2019 9 AM - The Approaching Thunder - Join a ranger at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce visitor center (3050 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129) and use the outdoor map to visualize the Stones River Campaign events that played out 157 years ago to the day. The Union infantry along Baldwin’s line began to break for the rear. The ignominious retreat of his army into Tennessee after that fight, as well as the paucity of forage and victuals, had inflicted incredible suffering on the Confederate rank and file. Rosecrans shifted men eastward across the river and established a formidable line along a hilltop. Hardee not… Although victorious, Major General Don Carlos Buell lacked the initiative to follow up on his victory and was soon relieved of command by Abraham Lincoln. In the final months of 1862, Abraham Lincoln and General-in-Chief Henry Halleck decided to press the Confederacy on all fronts. Gen. Evander McNair. Battle smoke swirled about the cornfields, obscuring the ranks of both sides. An extended lull fell over the western armies following the Battle of Perryville in the fall of 1862. In just another of the day’s hurried maneuvers, Polk right wheeled his bri-gade, called up one 12-pounder from the Helena Battery, and enfiladed Carlin’s line. A no-man’s land of only 700 yards separated the 83,000 combatants on Dec. 30, 1862. Section One, Fire! Every day, thousands of people pass right through a battlefield in Murfreesboro-- most of them with no idea of the carnage that occurred there. By the evening of December 31, the Army of the Cumberland was cornered against Stones River, and Bragg crowed to Richmond, “God has granted us a happy New Year.” A hiatus on January 1 gave both sides time to shore up their battle lines. During the melee, Willich had been captured, and Colonel Gibson of the 49th Ohio assumed command of the brigade. Wood’s brigade to fill the gap. Let us set the scene. 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 Ohioans joined the swarm of Federals sprinting for the rear. Panelists talked about the Battle of Stones River. Lamers, William M., The Edge of Glory: A Biography of General William S. Rosecrans, U.S.A, Louisiana State University Press, 1999 During the Battle of Stones River, Braxton Bragg was furious with several subordinates whose actions, he believed, had cost him a brilliant victory. By the afternoon of December 30, 1862, the cannoneers of Captain Warren P. Edgarton’s Battery E, 1st Ohio Artillery Regiment, were exhausted and worn down from hard marching and coping with adverse weather. "The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaigns", by Christopher L. Kolakowski is one of the excellent Civil War Sesquicentennial series from The History Press. He is a contributor to the January 7, 2021 Christopher L. Kolakowski The Battle of Stones River Your country owes you an immense debt. No clear victor emerged from the battle. To the right of Baldwin’s collapsing line, the Confederate brigades of Wood and Polk plowed into the cedar brakes, confident that their way was unobstructed. Both the Federal Army of the Cumberland and the Confederate Army of Tennessee had settled in for the night. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. For the next two months, the opponents warily watched each other. They got off five of the guns under a deadly fire. Unaware of these momentous Southern plans, Captain Edgarton kept busy prior to sunrise on December 31, finding a creek to the rear of his position and ordering half the battery’s horses taken back to the stream to be watered. Also troubling the Federal general were reports that Nashville, recently seized by Union troops, was about to fall. The 49th Ohio was hit in flank and rear simultaneously by the 14th and 15th Texas Cavalry (dismounted). Eager to seize the initiative, he took advantage of the Union lethargy to plan an assault of his own. 34 Alabama and the 8th Mississippi Confederate Infantry. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro would shake with the angry roar of cannons and the sharp crackle of musketry. Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. The 1860 census indicated that the prosperous farm family of Varner D. and Susan B. Cowan occupied this home. The 34th got the order to retire on Edgarton’s battery. The Majority of our funds go directly to Preservation and Education. Susan Harber, The Daily News Journal, June 19, 2017. History Learner. Summary  Mortimer J. Adler, American philosopher, educator and writer. Shows info that other books have left out. Read More American Civil War Timeline – Southern Offensives Turned Back. 2004 Stones River National Battlefield, Historic Resource Study. Meanwhile, he had received information that two of Bragg’s cavalry brigades, under redoubtable raiders Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Hunt Morgan, had been ordered west to assist other departments. Thread starter History Learner; Start date Aug 11, 2020; Home. The stout resistance of Maj. Gen. George Thomas’s wing, the omnipresent Rosecrans, and the failure of Bragg’s army to coordinate its attacks saved the Army of the Cumberland from utter destruction. I immediately moved by the left flank, Darden reported, to an elevated position, and came into battery to the right under a murderous fire of canister, from one of the enemy’s batteries, posted about 400 yards distant. Without delay they fell back. The Cowan House was a substantial brick structure surrounded by wooden piling or stockade fences with several outbuildings. Colonel J.C. Burks, commanding the 11th Texas Cavalry, fell disemboweled by the Union fire. Categories: Civil War. 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