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Civil War Trust

December 31, 2007

Murfreesboro/ Stones River, January in the Civil War


Civil War Preservation Trust Teacher Newsletter

The Civil War Preservation Trust is America's largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields. The Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public of the war’s history and the fundamental conflicts that sparked it.


     Battle of Murfreesboro or Stone’s River, TN






   Battle of Murfreesboro or Stone’s River, TN

December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863
Union Victory

Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, Army of the Cumberland [US]
13,249 Casualties (estimated)

Gen. Braxton Bragg, Army of Tennessee [CS]
10,266 Casualties (estimated)

Confederate General Braxton Bragg had moved into Tennessee after the failed Rebel campaign to win Kentucky. His army settled near Murfreesboro in October 1862 and waited for what they knew was coming sooner or later: the Union army that had followed them out of Kentucky. On December 26, 1862 Union General William S. Rosecrans moved his 43,000 men out of Nashville towards the Confederates with the intent of smashing Bragg's 38,000 Rebels and taking control of Middle Tennessee and its valuable resources. Four days later, Rosecrans found his quarry at Stones River.

However, Bragg's Confederates took the initiative, attacking the Yankees at dawn on December 31. By mid-morning the Union had been driven back almost to Nashville Pike. But it was here that they put up a tenacious defense, refusing to yield another inch. The Rebels would be allowed to go no further as the Federals repulsed wave after wave of Confederates. When the ammunition ran out the Yankees fought with bayonets and used their muskets as clubs.

There would be no fighting on New Year's Day as both exhausted armies silently recuperated from the trauma that they had endured. On January 2, General Bragg was dumbfounded to discover that Rosecrans had still not withdrawn despite all that his forces had suffered. Late in the afternoon Bragg sent General John Breckinridge's corps to finish off the Yankees.

Once again bending but refusing to break, the Federals were pushed back to a river crossing known as McFadden's Ford. It was there that the Union artillery overlooking the field of battle crucified the Confederate throng. Within one hour, the field of battle as well as the river was littered with 1,800 Southern corpses. A member of General Bragg's staff with a gift for brevity described the episode as "a terrible affair, although short."

The battle ended with that final slaughter, and the retreating Confederates left the Federal Army of the Cumberland in control of Middle Tennessee. Fortress Rosecrans was built in Murfreesboro shortly afterwards; it would serve the Yankees as a supply base for the campaigns against Chattanooga and, eventually, Atlanta.

With its 23,000 casualties, Stones River can be mentioned in the same breath as the bloodbaths of Antietam and Shiloh. The transportation network and agricultural lands of central Tennessee served the Yankees well when they drove far into Georgia the following year.

The Civil War Preservation Trust has committed $152,500 to acquire 24 acres at the site of the Battle of Stones River. With only 17% of the original battlefield protected, Stones River is located in the fastest growing county in Tennessee. Commercial development threatens the battle site on all sides. The battlefield terrain around Stones River had a decisive influence on the course of the battle, and with each acre lost our ability to understand this crucial turning point in the Civil War is further eroded.

==> Read more at the National Park Service web site --

==> Also visit the American Battlefield Protection Program at 

Jim’s Civil War Pages – Causes of the Civil War, Siege of Richmond and Petersburg, Chronologies.
Full list of the primary sources included on Jim’s “Causes of the Civil War” pages – worth listing on its own!
List of defunct US Congressional Committees
Crisis at Fort Sumter – “an interactive historical simulation and decision making program. Using text, images, and sound, it reconstructs the dilemmas of policy formation and decision making in the period between Abraham Lincoln's election in November 1860 and the battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861. The program primarily focuses on Lincoln, both as President-elect and as President. You will place yourself in Lincoln's position, consider the events that transpire, and choose a course of action at five critical junctures, called "problems." At each of these five junctures, Lincoln made a decision that helped determine the outcome of the crisis at Fort Sumter. In order to assess each problem and make a decision, advice is available from official advisors, such as cabinet members, and from various informal channels, such as newspapers, friends, and public spokesmen. You must, therefore, assess information, calculate the consequences of various options, determine a course of action, and evaluate your decision, just as Lincoln did during the winter and spring of 1860-1861. While Crisis at Fort Sumter focuses on Lincoln and his administration, it also provides relevant information about events in the Confederacy.”
Interesting Kin Folk in the Civil War
World Wide Web Virtual Library: History: USA: Civil War 1861-1865
(Thanks to Terry Levering for passing this site along!)


Source:  Civil War Day By Day, by E.B. Long

Jan. 1, 1863:  Shortly after noon, Lincoln signed the final Emancipation Proclamation.  

Jan. 2, 1863:  Second day of the Battle of Murfreesboro/ Stone’s River

Jan. 6, 1861: In New York, Mayor Fernando Wood suggested that New York should become a free city, trading with both North and South.

Jan. 7, 1865:  Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was removed from active military command.  He had been a controversial figure, and his failure at Ft. Fisher was the last straw.

Jan. 9, 1861:  Mississippi became the second state to secede.  Elsewhere, the Star of the West – an unarmed merchant ship – was fired on in Charleston Harbor and failed to bring men and supplies to Ft. Sumter.

Jan. 10, 1861:  Florida seceded from the Union.

Jan. 11, 1861: Alabama seceded from the Union.

Jan. 11, 1862:  President Lincoln accepted Sec. of War Simon Cameron’s resignation.  On January 15, the Senate confirmed Edwin Stanton as the new Secretary of War.

Jan. 11, 1863:  Capture of Arkansas Post / Fort Hindman by the Federals.  Also, CSS Alabama under Raphael Semmes sank USS Hatteras off Galveston, TX.

Jan. 12, 1865:  Through Francis Blair, Jefferson Davis gave Abraham Lincoln a letter indicating that he was willing to enter into peace negotiations – “with a view to secure peace to the two countries”.

Jan. 13, 1861:  US officials formally authorized Negro troops for the SC Volunteer Infantry, which would be commanded by Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Jan. 13, 1865:  CS General Hood resigned.  Elsewhere, the attack on Fort Fisher, NC began.  It was finally captured by Federals on January 15th.

Jan. 16, 1861: “Crittenden Compromise” failed in the US Senate.

Jan. 18, 1862:  Former President John Tyler died in Richmond.  The Confederate Territory of Arizona was formed (the southern half of Federal New Mexico Territory).

Jan. 19, 1861: Georgia was the fifth state to secede from the Union.

Jan. 19, 1862:  Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky.  CS. Gen. Felix Zollicoffer was killed; US Gen. George H. Thomas proved himself in battle.

Jan. 19, 1865:  Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman ordered a march from Savannah, GA through South Carolina.  CS Pres. Davis and others desperately (but unsuccessfully) tried to find manpower to stop Sherman.

Jan. 21, 1861:  Five US Senators – including Jefferson Davis of MS -- dramatically withdrew from the Senate.

Jan. 22, 1863:  Burnside’s “Mud March” failed.  The Army of the Potomac was impossibly bogged down in mud, unable to cross the Rappahannock.

Jan. 22, 1864:  Maj. Gen. Rosencrans replaced Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield as commander of the Federal Department of the Missouri.  Schofield took command of the Department of the Ohio.

Jan. 25, 1863:  Gen. Joseph E. Hooker replaced Gen. Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac.  Burnside had been reluctant to accept the job in the first place.

Jan. 26, 1861:  Louisiana became the sixth state to secede.

Jan. 27, 1862:  Lincoln issued General War Order No. 1: “that the 22nd of Feb. 1862 be the day for a general movement of the Land and Naval forces of the US against the insurgent forces.”

Jan. 29, 1861:  Kansas was admitted to the Union and became the thirty-fourth state.

Jan. 30, 1862:  A crowd at Long Island, NY watched the launching of the USS Monitor.

Jan. 31, 1862:  Hoping to push McClellan into action, Lincoln issued Special War Order No. 1: the Army of the Potomac was to seize “a point upon the Rail Road South Westward of what is known of [sic] Manassas Junction” – also to be done by Feb. 22nd.

Jan. 31, 1865:  Robert E. Lee was named the General-in-Chief of all Confederate armies.  In the North, the US House of Representatives passed the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery.



A.  What was the “Committee of Thirteen”?

B.  What position was Simon Cameron (PA) named to after he resigned as Secretary of War?

C.  On Jan. 13, 1861, Governor Pickens of South Carolina asked Washington to pay $3000 owed him as former Minister to Russia. How did Washington “pay” him?

D.  What were “News Walkers”?

E.  What was “panada”?



Teacher Institute:
Hagerstown, MD: July 25-27, 2008. Teachers will visit Antietam or Harpers Ferry on Saturday, as well as attend classes on Friday and Sunday. To register, contact The institute application is online at

Two-Week Civil War Curriculum CD-ROM: For grades 5, 8 & 11.  Download online, or e-mail to have it mailed.  

Classroom Membership:
Contains the monthly classroom newsletter and quarterly Hallowed Ground magazine, a packet of classroom materials, curriculum CD-ROM & book of Civil War trivia.  To sponsor a classroom, obtain an application, or view a newsletter - contact  

Civil War Preservation Trust Education Web Site

Poster & Essay Competition:
Both the top students and their teachers are rewarded! Deadline:  May 15, 2008.  Learn more at

Adopt a Battlefield:
Save battlefields while teaching about their history! Site packs include Antietam, Appomattox, Fredericksburg, Trevilian Station, Perryville, Peninsula Campaign and Harpers Ferry.   Email for more details. 
Contact for information on Third Winchester, Chancellorsville and Glendale.

Traveling Trunk:
Rent one for the 2008/2009 school year, and access hands-on items, books, music and visuals.

Battlefields as Outdoor Classrooms:
Contact for more information.

Civil War Preservation Trust book catalog at LibraryThing



A. The Committee of Thirteen was a US Senate committee formed December 18, 1860.  Its purpose was to find a compromise that might solve the secession crisis.  Among its members were Robert Toombs, GA, Jefferson Davis, MS, Stephen Douglas, IL, William Seward, NY, Thomas Hindman, NY, and John Crittenden, KY.  The committee failed to agree on any proposal.

B. Minister to Russia.

C. Washington sent him a draft on the Charleston Subtreasury – already taken over by South Carolina.  (Source:  Civil War Day By Day)

D.  They were “soldiers who, after the day’s fighting, would go from campfire to campfire, exchanging information and bringing news” (Civil War Dictionary, Mark Boatner III).  According to Bruce Catton, “they were in fact amateur and self-appointed reporters, hunting the information by which they could judge how the battle was going, what army morale was like, and what the prospects were for the morrow” (pp. 592-593).

E.  Eliza Harris of the US Sanitary Commission invented “Panada”.  It was also known as “ginger panada” and “bully soup”.  Panada was a hot gruel made of cornmeal, hardtack mashed in hot water, ginger and wine. (Civil War Dictionary, p. 618)


Jennifer Rosenberry
Education Coordinator
Civil War Preservation Trust
11 Public Square, Suite 200
Hagerstown, MD 21740

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