“A Nasty Day of Battle: Colonel Alfred Vaughan at Stones River”

Lawrence Peterson

Description: Suffering a casualty rate of 39 percent on day one of the Battle of Stones River, there remains little doubt that Brigadier General Preston Smith’s brigade, temporarily led by Colonel Alfred Vaughan Jr., participated in the heat of this lessor known battle. This battle began early on December 31, 1862, and finished on January 2, 1863. Fighting occurred on both sides of Stones River, next to the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, situated some 30 miles southeast of Nashville. Vaughan and his men were heavily engaged in the initial and follow-up attacks. We will examine how the battle came about; learn about Colonel Vaughan, and discuss the results and ramifications of this battle. With total casualties of over 23,000 it is virtually tied with those of Shiloh and, in the Civil War west, only Chickamauga sustained more at some 34,000: the Battle of Stones River deserves more attention from students of the Civil War!

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