Fortress Rosecrans - History and Facts | History Hit

Fortress Rosecrans

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

Fortress Rosecrans was built by Unionist solders in 1863 following the Battle of Stones River.

Peta Stamper

20 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Coinmanj, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About Fortress Rosecrans

Fortress Rosecrans was a fortified structure built by the Army of the Cumberland following the Battle of Stones River in 1863. The structure was named after General William S. Rosecrans, who led the men during this battle.

Fortress Rosecrans went on to become a vital base through which the Union army passed supplies in their campaign to capture nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States. Today, little is left of this site, but it can be viewed as part of a trip to Stones River Battlefield.

Fortress Rosecrans history

Begun in January 1863, Fortress Rosecrans was constructed after the Battle of Stones River which saw the largest number of casualties on both sides and dashed Confederate hopes to control Middle Tennessee. The fortress was a large bastioned earthworks fort, and was located at a strategic road intersection between Nashville and the Chattanooga Railroad, with the Stones River running straight through it.

The fortress, a major logistical base for the Union armies nearby, was complete in June of 1863 when General Rosecrans and his army departed the area leaving it manned by new and resting troops. Fortress Rosecrans contained multiple fortifications and was surrounded by a 10 foot deep filled with sharp stakes, although it was never directly attacked. The fortress also featured 4 steam-powered sawmills for building the railroad nearby, which was the most important way for supplies to be distributed throughout the army.

During the later part of the American Civil War, Fortress Rosecrans was used as a military hospital – both for injured men and horses. These convalescing troops were considered part of a back-up defence as the Union marched forwards. By the end of the war in 1865 the earthworks had significantly diminished, and the fortress was eventually abandoned in April 1866.

Fortress Rosecrans today

Today, visitors can walk along wooden footbridges following the trails of the different fortifications. There is plenty of signage on-site providing the history and detailed plans of the former Civil War fortress. Located within the Old Fort Park, the site is often full of casual walkers and joggers, as all that remains of Fortress Rosecrans is the earthworks covered in vegetation surrounded by a peaceful woods.

Getting to the Fortress Rosecrans

Located in today’s Murfreesboro, a 40 minute drive from Nashville, the Old Fort Park is situated at the intersection off routes 840, 41, 96, 231 and 99. Head to the Old Fort Parkway then Golf Lane, where there is free parking. The Greyhound Bus Station is a 20 minute walk from Fortress Rosecrans.

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