On January 3, Bragg’s equally exhausted Confederate forces withdrew southward. McCook, anticipating the next day would begin with a major attack by Crittenden, planted numerous campfires in his area, hoping to deceive the Confederates as to his strength on that flank, and to disguise the fact that his flank was not anchored on an obstacle (the nearby Overall Creek). In, McDonough, James Lee. , The armies bivouacked only 700 yards (640 m) from each other, and their bands started a musical battle that became a non-lethal preview of the next day's events. Cozzens, pp. 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. , On the Union side, President Abraham Lincoln had become frustrated with Buell's passivity and replaced him with Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, victor of the recent battles of Iuka and Corinth. A massive assault by the corps of Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee, followed by that of Leonidas Polk, overran the wing commanded by Maj. Gen. Alexander M. McCook. After the first day’s bitter, seesaw battle, the battered Union army was on the verge of retreating, but Rosecrans decided to hold fast. 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. Livermore, p. 97, lists present for duty 44,800 Union, 37,712 Confederate, and estimates effectives as 41,400 Union, 34,732 Confederate. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... One of the most bitter encounters of the American Civil War took place 3 miles (5 km) northwest of the city (December 31, 1862–January 2, 1863), in which Union forces under General William S. Rosecrans won a strategic victory over Confederates under General Braxton Bragg. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 374–92; McDonough, pp. Title: The Battle of Stones River. Despite this action, the main battle is generally accepted to have ended on January 2. 69–70; Street, p. 99. For some reason I am really struggling with this battle. The Battle of Stones River (Confederate: Battle of Murfreesboro or 2nd Murfreesboro) was fought during the American Civil War between December 31, 1862 and January 3, 1863 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.The battle pitted the Army of the Cumberland under Major General William S. Rosecrans against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lieutenant General Braxton Bragg. When Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans assumed command of the army, Crittenden's forces were redesignated the Left Wing of the Army of the Cumberland and were heavily engaged at the Battle of Stones River. 26–29; McWhiney, pp. His brothers Daniel McCook, Jr., Edwin Stanton McCook, and Robert Latimer McCook were all Union generals, as were his cousins Anson G. McCook and Edward M. McCook. Cozzens, pp. Corrections? This was the third major battle, after Fort Donelson and Shiloh, in which an early morning attack caught a Union army by surprise. , Rosecrans spent five and a half months reinforcing Murfreesboro. They are slicker, quicker and adopt different mechanisms to the Napoleonic version to produce a more ACW feel. Jefferson C. Davis, Richard W. Johnson, and Philip H. Sheridan) marched south along the Nolensville Turnpike to Nolensville, south to Triune, and then eastward to Murfreesboro. Battle of Stones River, also called Battle of Murfreesboro, (December 31, 1862–January 2, 1863), bloody but indecisive American Civil War clash in Tennessee that was a psychological victory for Union forces. Cozzens, pp. Stones River National Battlefield (established 1927) commemorates the battle. But none of the cavalry raids, Confederate or Union, had any significant effect on the Stones River Campaign. Sweet Home!" Gen. David S. Stanley (a single cavalry division under Col. John Kennett) preceded each of the three columns. By nightfall, two thirds of Rosecrans's army was in position along the Nashville Turnpike, and by the next day Rosecrans's army numbered about 41,000 and Bragg's 35,000. Esposito, text for map 83; McDonough, p. 308; Daniel, p. 219. Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland marched from Nashville, Tennessee, on December 26, 1862, to challenge General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro. Gens. As he rode among the survivors, he cried out repeatedly, "My poor Orphans! James S. Negley, Speed S. Fry, and Robert B. Mitchell) moved south along the Wilson Turnpike and the Franklin Turnpike, parallel to the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, then eastward through Nolensville and along the same route used by Crittenden south of the Nashville and Chattanooga. , The Army of the Cumberland marched southeast the day after Christmas in three columns, or "wings", towards Murfreesboro, and they were effectively harassed by Wheeler's Confederate cavalry along the way, which delayed their movements. Rosecrans canceled Crittenden's attack on the Confederate right, which had begun with Brig. The Battle of Stones River (also known as the Second Battle of Murfreesboro) was a battle fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. Bragg's biographer, Grady McWhiney, observed: Unless the Union army collapsed at the first onslaught, it would be pushed back into a tighter and stronger defensive position as the battle continued, while the Confederate forces would gradually lose momentum, become disorganized, and grow weaker. Major General William S. Rosecrans assumed command of the Army of the Ohio and reconstituted it as the Army of the … 10, 11, 29. , Murfreesboro was a small town in the Stones River Valley, a former state capital named for a colonel in the American Revolutionary War, Hardy Murfree. Somewhere I made a horrific miscalculation that ended up costing me half of my armies strength. He did not begin his march in pursuit of Bragg until December 26. This is a playful modification of the expression "Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better," which Rosecrans may have read in. General Braxton Bragg ’s 34,700-man Confederate army was confronted on Stones River near Murfreesboro by 41,400 Union troops under General William S. Rosecrans, who had orders to … Northern musicians played "Yankee Doodle" and "Hail, Columbia" and were answered by "Dixie" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag." This page was last edited on 15 November 2020, at 04:18. Breckinridge initially protested that the assault would be suicidal but eventually agreed and attacked with determination. After the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky on October 8, 1862, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi withdrew to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where it was joined by Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's army of 10,000 on October 10. Omissions? Breckinridge was devastated by the disaster. A Union division under the command of James S. Negley (Thomas's wing) led a counterattack at 4:45 p.m., and the Confederate troops retreated. At dawn on December 31, about 6 a.m., Confederate William J. Hardee struck first, attacking the Union's right flank with the division of Maj. Gen. John P. McCown, before many in Union Brig. 199–207; McWhiney, pp. Repeated attacks on the left flank of the Union line were repulsed by Col. William B. Hazen's brigade in a rocky, 4-acre (16,000 m2) wooded area named "Round Forest" by the locals; it became known as "Hell's Half-Acre". The battle was very important to Union morale, as evidenced by Abraham Lincoln's letter to General Rosecrans: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over." Eicher, p. 420; Cozzens, pp. 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. By 10 a.m., many of the Confederate objectives had been achieved. In just a few hours, the fields and cedar thickets around the Tennessee village of Murfreesboro w… Hess, p. 198, states that of the 37,712 Confederate effectives, 3,873 were cavalrymen. While I manage to break the Unions right, it simply takes too long for my troops to march up, completely exhausting them while doing so. 213, 223. The massive earthenworks "Fort Rosecrans" was built there and served as a supply depot for the remainder of the war. 171–72; Street, pp. They captured four wagon trains and 1,000 Union prisoners. Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was later named in his honor. 68–69; McPherson, p. 580; Foote, p. 86; Street, p. 99; Hess, p. 199; Lamers, p. 208. Prior to the Battle of Stones River, the Union had suffered a humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg. Frustrated with his prospect… By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 159–61; Cozzens, pp. 172–76; Eicher, p. 427; McDonough, p. 307; Street, p. 133; Foote, pp. , While Rosecrans was preparing in Nashville, Bragg ordered Col. John Hunt Morgan to move north with his cavalry and operate along Rosecrans's lines of communications, to prevent him from foraging for supplies north of Nashville. On December 31, each army commander planned to attack his opponent's right flank, but Bragg struck first. Buy Battle of Stones River: The Forgotten Conflict between the Confederate Army of Tennessee and the Union Army of the Cumberland by Larry J. Daniel (2012-11-05) by (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Rosecrans’s tenacity thus averted a potentially serious Union defeat. , Bragg planned to attack the Union left, a portion of the oval line facing southeast, manned by Hazen's brigade. Gen. Samuel P. Carter raided the upper Tennessee Valley from Manchester, Kentucky. My poor Orphans. But the day was relatively quiet as both armies observed New Year's Day by resting and tending to their wounded. Gen. Philip Sheridan in the right center of the line prevented a total collapse, and the Union assumed a tight defensive position backing up to the Nashville Turnpike. , That night Rosecrans held a council of war to decide what to do. But his decision to retreat allowed his enemies to charge that once again Bragg had lost his nerve. I essentially lost 50% of my army in a single battle. The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro (in the South, simply the Battle of Murfreesboro), was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.Of the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. What saved the Union from total destruction that morning was the foresight of Brig. 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. The right wing of 16,000 men under Maj. Gen. Alexander M. McCook (divisions of Brig. The battle was tactically inconclusive. ... God has granted us a happy New Year. 143–44. 96–97; Hess, p. 198. Just as at Perryville, Bragg seemed to change under stress from a bold and aggressive attacker to a hesitant and cautious retreater. , Source: Official Records, Series I, Volume XX, Part 1, pages 174-182, 207-217, 1093-1099. Hazen's brigade was the only part of the original Union line to hold. He refused to send two brigades as reinforcements across the river to aid the main attack on the left. Bragg received almost universal scorn from his Confederate military colleagues; only the support of Joseph E. Johnston and President Jefferson Davis's inability to find a suitable replacement saved his command. The rules are revising the GdeB Deluxe treatment and at long last, the rules are were they should be! Street, p. 159, repeats Livermore's effectives number. Gen. Horatio P. Van Cleve's division crossing the river at 7 a.m., and instead rushed reinforcements to his own right flank. 79–80, 109–23, 221; Eicher, pp. Street, James Jr., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. Bragg had the advantage of the detached, but cooperating, cavalry commands under Forrest and Morgan, who raided deeply behind Union lines while Wheeler's cavalry slowed the Union forces with hit-and-run skirmishes. The Union troops were pushed back across McFadden Ford, but the Confederate charge ran into heavy fire from massed Union artillery across the river, commanded by Crittenden's artillery chief, Capt. Mendenhall deployed his guns perfectly—45 arrayed hub-to-hub on the ridge overlooking McFadden's Ford and 12 more guns about a mile to the southwest, which could provide enfilading fire, completely commanding the opposite bank and heights beyond—and saved the day for Rosecrans. Worsham, pp. An extended lull fell over the western armies following the Battle of Perryville in the fall of 1862. The separation of the wings was designed to conduct a turning movement against Hardee at Triune, but when the U.S. march began, Bragg moved Hardee back to Murfreesboro to avoid a confrontation. The loss of Stevenson's 7,500 men would be sorely felt in the coming battle. Cozzens, pp. McDonough, pp. Rosecrans moved his XIV Corps (which was soon after designated the Army of the Cumberland) to Nashville, Tennessee, and was warned by Washington that he too would be replaced if he did not move aggressively against Bragg and occupy eastern Tennessee. Short limestone outcroppings, separated by narrow cracks as if rows of teeth, impeded the movement of wagons and artillery. Cozzens, pp. Thomas J. 305–307; Cozzens, p. A72-73; Lamers, pp. For the earlier conflict, see, Articles relating to the Battle of Stones River. Brig. Although Bragg's newly combined force was up to 38,000 veteran troops, he made no effort to regain the initiative. 817–18; Esposito, text for map 83; McDonough, pp. Eicher, p. 421; Cozzens, pp. Gen. James G. Spears reached Rosecrans. There were over 23,000 casualties, giving the Battle of Stones River the highest percentage of casualties of any battle in the war. However, Crittenden—facing Breckinridge on the Union left—failed to notify McCook (on the Union right) of these troop movements. After the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky on October 8, 1862, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi withdrew to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where it was joined by Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's army of 10,000 on October 10. 320–21; Cozzens, pp. Although Bragg's newly combined force was up to 38,000 veteran troops, he made no effort to regain the initiative. 145–55; Cozzens, pp. Finally, one band started playing "Home! , Although meeting stiff resistance, Hardee drove the Union troops back three miles (5 km) to the railroad and the Nashville Pike by 10 a.m., where Johnson was able to rally them. Benjamin F. Cheatham and Jones M. Withers, and a cavalry command under Brig. , Part of the site of the Battle of Stones River and Fort Rosecrans is now Stones River National Battlefield. McCook graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1852, served against the Apaches and Utes in New Mexico in 1853–57, and was assistant instructor of infantry tactics at the military academy in 1858–61. 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. Bragg's plan had had a fundamental flaw: although his objective was to cut Rosecrans's line of communication (the Nashville Pike), his attack drove the Union defenders to concentrate at that point. Several artillery batteries were captured without having time to fire a shot. According to Daniel, Union defeats in late 1862—both at Chickasaw Bayou in Mississippi and at Fredericksburg, Virginia—transformed the clash in Tennessee into a much-needed morale booster for the North. 159–61; Street, p. 123; McDoinough, pp. 210–15; Kennedy, p. 153; Foote, pp. ", On the morning of January 3, a large supply train and reinforced infantry brigade led by Brig. ", At 3 a.m. on January 1, 1863, Rosecrans revived his original plan and ordered Van Cleve's division (commanded by Col. Samuel Beatty following Van Cleve's wounding the previous day) to cross the river and occupy the heights there, protecting two river crossing sites and providing a good platform for artillery.  The 600 acre (2.4 km²) National Battlefield includes Stones River National Cemetery, established in 1865, with more than 6,000 Union graves. Wood, John M. Palmer, and Horatio P. Van Cleve) took a route that was parallel to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, passing through La Vergne and south of Smyrna. Repeated Confederate attacks were repulsed from this concentrated line, most notably in the cedar "Round Forest" salient against the brigade of Col. William B. Hazen. The Battle of Stones River was fought December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, during the American Civil War (1861-1865). 309–16; Street, pp. On December 29, Wheeler and 2,500 of his men rode completely around the Union army, destroying supply wagons and capturing reserve ammunition in Rosecrans's trains. Major General William Rosecrans and … 128–30, 166; Daniel, p. 212; McDonough, pp. and the others on both sides joined in. "Battle of Stones River." Although Rosecrans had reported his army to have 81,729 effectives in Nashville, his force on the march was barely more than half of that since he needed to protect his base and supply lines from the harassment of the Confederate cavalry. Kennedy, p. 150; Cozzens, p. 43; Eicher, pp. 299–301; Hess p. 215; Eicher, pp. The Union won the battle. Rosecrans ordered his men to be ready to attack after breakfast, but Bragg ordered an attack at dawn. The Union troops regrouped and held the Nashville Pike, supported by reinforcements and massed artillery. Gens. This bloody fight near Murfreesboro saw more casualties than any other Tennessee battle, though there was no clear winner. Sensitive to the political requirements that almost no Tennessee ground be yielded to U.S. control, he chose the relatively flat area northwest of the politically influential city, straddling the Stones River. General Braxton Bragg’s 34,700-man Confederate army was confronted on Stones River near Murfreesboro by 41,400 Union troops under General William S. Rosecrans, who had orders to drive Bragg out of eastern Tennessee. None of the troops were ordered to construct field fortifications. 292–94; Connelly, pp. Falsely believing that Rosecrans was receiving reinforcements, Bragg chose to withdraw his army on January 3 to Tullahoma, Tennessee. Stones River National Battlefield preserves…. 130–33; McDonough, p. 305; Cozzens, pp. 296–98; Hattaway and Jones, pp. John Mendenhall. , On December 30, the Union force moved into line two miles (three km) northwest of Murfreesboro. Jones M. Withers and Benjamin F. Cheatham. 317–18; Daniel, pp. I essentially lost 50% of my army in a single battle. Then Cheatham, with his reserve division, hit Sheridan's front as Cleburne struck his flank. 422, 424; Street, pp. The Confederate threat to Kentucky and Middle Tennessee had been nullified, and Nashville was secure as a major Union supply base for the rest of the war. Tidball, John C. The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. 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