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Stones River

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December 31 - January 2, 1863

The Battle of Stones River
Murfreesboro

The day after Christmas, 1862, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland left Nashville and marched toward Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro, 30 miles to the south. Rosecrans had about 80,000 men under his command, yet he left 40,000 men in and around Nashville to guard his communication and supply routes -- nearly evening his odds against Bragg. Rebel cavalry troopers under Colonel John Hunt Morgan operated around Nashville, keeping Yankee cavalry busy but not effecting Rosecrans’ move south. The Federal army generally followed the route of the Nashville Turnpike as it crossed the mid-Tennessee countryside toward Chattanooga. Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. Joseph Wheeler harassed the column as it moved south, capturing four wagon trains and 1,000 Yankee prisoners on December 29. 

The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30. Rosecrans’ 41,000-man army on the northwest bank of the river was organized into three infantry corps (or wings) with three divisions each. On the right, Maj. Gen. Alexander McCook’s corps filled the farm fields south of the turnpike and west of Murfreesboro. Continuing to the north, in the center, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas’ corps was posted near the turnpike where it crossed the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. On the Union left, Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden’s men covered the Stones River fords to the north.

Facing the Federals were Bragg’s 35,000 men arranged into two corps of infantry. On the Confederate left, two divisions of Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee’s corps faced the Yankee right flank with their backs to Stones River. Hardee’s third division under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckenridge was posted north of the turnpike, behind the river and awkwardly splitting Hardee’s command. Between Breckenridge and the remainder of Hardee’s corps was the corps of Lieut. Gen. Leonidas Polk, facing the Union center.

 

Stones River Battlefield

 

The day after Christmas, 1862, Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland left Nashville and marched toward Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro, 30 miles to the south. Rosecrans had about 80,000 men under his command, yet he left 40,000 men in and around Nashville to guard his communication and supply routes -- nearly evening his odds against Bragg. Rebel cavalry troopers under Colonel John Hunt Morgan operated around Nashville, keeping Yankee cavalry busy but not effecting Rosecrans’ move south. The Federal army generally followed the route of the Nashville Turnpike as it crossed the mid-Tennessee countryside toward Chattanooga. Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. Joseph Wheeler harassed the column as it moved south, capturing four wagon trains and 1,000 Yankee prisoners on December 29. 

The two armies gathered on the banks of Stones River on the evening of December 30. Rosecrans’ 41,000-man army on the northwest bank of the river was organized into three infantry corps (or wings) with three divisions each. On the right, Maj. Gen. Alexander McCook’s corps filled the farm fields south of the turnpike and west of Murfreesboro. Continuing to the north, in the center, Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas’ corps was posted near the turnpike where it crossed the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. On the Union left, Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden’s men covered the Stones River fords to the north.

Facing the Federals were Bragg’s 35,000 men arranged into two corps of infantry. On the Confederate left, two divisions of Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee’s corps faced the Yankee right flank with their backs to Stones River. Hardee’s third division under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckenridge was posted north of the turnpike, behind the river and awkwardly splitting Hardee’s command. Between Breckenridge and the remainder of Hardee’s corps was the corps of Lieut. Gen. Leonidas Polk, facing the Union center.