Stones River Battlefield | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Stones River Battlefield

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

About Stones River Battlefield

Between 31 December 1862 and 2 January 1863, Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.

Prior to the Battle of Stones River, the Union had suffered a humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg. Morale was at an all time low and, anxious for a military victory, President Abraham Lincoln urged his new military leader, Major General William S. Rosecrans, to deliver.

In December 1862, Rosecrans moved his troops to Murfreesboro where General Braxton Bragg and the Confederate Army of Tennessee were camped. In the days that followed, there raged a fierce battle and, by the end, resulted in 9,239 Confederate casualties and 9,532 Union casualties as well as thousands of men taken as prisoners on both sides.

Overall, the Battle of Stones River is considered to have been inconclusive, however of vital importance was the fact that Bragg retreated from the battlefield. As a result, the Confederates gave up Middle Tennessee, an area of farmland which acted as a food source and, in Lincoln’s words, led the Union to view the Battle of Stones River as a “hard earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the country scarcely could have lived over.”

Today, Stones River Battlefield is part of the US National Parks network, with exhibitions and a series of tours exploring the area’s history. Stones River National Cemetery, which is nearby, is a military graveyard where 6,100 Union soldiers are buried.

On average, a tour of Stones River Battlefield and its museum lasts around two hours. Having said this, you might want more time to visit nearby attractions, such as Fortress Rosecrans.

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