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While the American Battlefield Trust has worked to protect Stones River, development continues to threaten this hallowed ground. Looked at in summary, the Battle of Stones River is similar to the Battle of Shiloh, which took place in Tennessee nine months earlier. The total area of the battlefield was about 4,000 acres. Instead, he distributed a whiskey ration—most welcome in the freezing weather—and ordered his men forward at dawn. While the blood soaked battlefield was a killing field for both Union and Confederate forces, the combined casualties were … Four brigadier generals were killed in the battle. On January 2, Bragg ordered an assault of a heavily armed Union troops near a hill east of Stones River. 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. Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. The Slaughter Pen is pivotal within the story of Stones River. 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. President Abraham Lincoln had recently given command to Rosecrans. 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. Total casualties were over 24,000 men in a battle in which the total number of opposing forces was about 76,000. The Union held off the assault easily, devastating the Confederates. The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. Recommended Reading: No Better Place to Die: THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER (Civil War Trilogy). 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. Crittenden’s corps, with Stones River on one side, extended across the Nashville Turnpike. His stubbornness had robbed the Confederate assault of vital momentum. 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. 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. Chickamauga, Shiloh, and Antietam had casualty rates of 29%, 26%, and 18%, respectively. There were over 23,000 casualties, giving the Battle of Stones River the highest percentage of casualties of any battle in the war. The killing contributed to Breckinridge’s belief that Bragg did not have enough concern for the lives of his men. Every purchase supports the mission. The Battle of Stones River was a tactical draw, but a strategic Union victory. 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. On the Union side, Major General William S. Rosecrans led 43,400 men while Confederate General Braxton Bragg led 37,712 men. The Confederates were under the command of General Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee. In the weeks that followed, however, it began to take the shape of a Union victory. Help save a crucial 22-acre tract on the battlefield where 14 African American soldiers earned the highest military honor in the land. Great book on Stones River. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. 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. 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 . 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 Union was able to hold off a Confederate assault, although both sides saw very high percentages of casualties. 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. Stones River National Battlefield. The battle took place near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along Stones River. Battle of Stones River | | Published by Kurz & Allison at 76 & 78 Wabash Avenue in Chicago. Since neither side had swept the other from the field, the battle was a draw. 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. Interesting The Battle of Stones River Facts: The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. Why Stones River? - 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 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. McCown was drawn away from the Wilkinson Turnpike as his men pursued the scattering Federals. 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. 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, … Donations to the Trust are tax deductible to the full extent allowable under the law. Please consider making a gift today to help raise the $170,000 we need to preserve this piece of American history forever. Rosecrans, now holding a tight position with both flanks joined to Stones River, decided to extend his flank across to the eastern bank. The focal point of this new effort was a small cedar copse known as the Round Forest. Both times, the Southern army attacked first and caught the Union troops eating breakfast. 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 responded by ordering Breckinridge to charge and pulverize this new position. 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. 81,000 soldiers fought in the battle. As 1862 drew to a close, President Abraham Lincoln was desperate for a military victory. 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. Sheridan’s division was pulled out of the line at 11 A.M. and allowed to replenish their ammunition. His battle plan had achieved its objectives but not its goal—the Union army still held a strong defensive position. The Stones River watershed drains some 920 square miles (2,400 square km). 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. 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. This was one of the deadliest battles of the war. 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. The battle was fought from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863. This was untrue, and would have been discredited if Breckinridge had conducted proper reconnaissance. 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. 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. 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