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Stones River


December 31 - January 2, 1863

Rutherford County , Tennessee

On December 31, 1862, advancing forces under Union general William Rosecrans fought a pitched battle with Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Both generals formed plans of attack, but Bragg struck first, pulverizing the Union right flank with two veteran divisions. False reports indicating a Union retreat kept Bragg in place on January 1, but January 2 dawned with Rosecrans stubbornly holding his ground. Bragg ordered Gen. John Breckinridge and his division to charge the Union left late in the afternoon. Breckinridge’s men crossed an open field and nearly achieved a breakthrough, but massed artillery broke up the assault at the climactic moment. Although the battle to that point had been a tactical draw, the arrival of Union reinforcements made Bragg’s position untenable. He retreated on January 3, granting the North a valuable strategic victory in the middle of an otherwise dismal winter.
Learn More About This Battle

"I Will Die Right Here"

Christopher Kolakowski describes Phillip Sheridan's rise to fame at the Battle of Stones River.

10 facts

10 Facts about Stones River

The Battle of Stones River was one of the most ferocious battles of the war. Use these facts to expand your appreciation and understanding of this little-known engagement.

Acres Saved

This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2001 »  , and 2002 »


See our collection of photos from the 1862-3 battle that determined the fate of Middle Tennessee.

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Recommended Reading

No Better Place

"No Better Place To Die: The Battle of Stones River"
by Peter Cozzens

Buy »

Winter Lightning

"Winter Lightning: A Guide to the Battle of Stones River"
by Matt and Lee Spruill

Buy »

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