From December 31, 1862 through January 2, 1863, 81,000 soldiers struggled for control of middle Tennessee. The Confederate Army of Tennessee commanded by Gen. Braxton Bragg started the fight at dawn on New Year’s Eve. The men in gray crushed the right side of the Union lines and threatened to win a war changing victory for their cause. As morning turned to afternoon, Gen. William S. Rosecrans’ Union Army of the Cumberland slowed the gray tide and held their ground with help of massed artillery at the road to Nashville. The exhausted armies rested on New Year’s Day then continued fighting on January 2, 1863. The last charge of the battle ended with more than 1,800 Confederate casualties as a result of the deadly fire of of fifty-seven Union cannons.
Nearly 24,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured at the Battle of Stones River. The Confederates withdrew from Murfreesboro, and the Union army turned the town into a base for their campaigns into the Confederate heartland. News of the victory boosted northern morale. It also supported the Emancipation Proclamation and President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to turn the war into “new birth of freedom” for our nation.
Contributed by: Park Ranger Jim Lewis
The Battle of Stones River occurred at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Fortress Rosencrans was built in the months after the battle. This is considered a moderate hike; it is generally flat, but can be tiring due to the distance, approximately 11.7 miles. The hike is mostly on sidewalks or paved trails.
Suggestions for what to bring and wear:
- Sturdy shoes or boots
- 3 or 4 Liters of water, for locations to refill are hard to find
- Pen or pencil with question sheet
- A camera for taking pictures
- Comfortable clothes
Questions to be answered on the hike:
The Trail Map:
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