Stones River Battlefield - History and Facts | History Hit

Stones River Battlefield

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States

Stones River Battlefield was the site of a fierce clash during the American Civil War which proved vital for the Union.

Antara Bate

21 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

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.

Stones River Battlefield history

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.”

Stones River Battlefield today

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. Other attractions nearby include Fortress Rosecrans.

Getting to Stones River Battlefield

The nearest airport is Nashville International Airport which is 30 miles northwest of the park.

When driving take Exit 76 and turn left onto Medical Centre Parkway. Turn left onto Thompson Lane. Turn left at the park entrance at 1563 N. Thompson Lane. Follow the tour road to the visitor centre.

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