Stones River Battle

Stones River

Murfreesboro

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After his October 1862 defeat at Perryville in Kentucky, Gen. Braxton Bragg withdrew his army into central Tennessee and resupplied his men near Murfreesboro.  Although his Army of Tennessee had received reinforcements, Bragg seemed hesitant to conduct offensive operations.  The Union Army of the Cumberland, now commanded by Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans, also loitered in mid-Tennessee and resupplied around Nashville.  Rosecrans received orders to move against Bragg, and finally did so in late December.  Moving south, the Union force met the Confederates along Stones River just north of Murfreesboro. On December 31st, both commanders made plans to attack his opponents right flank, but Bragg struck first, pulverizing the Union right with two veteran divisions and driving it back three miles.  Heavy fighting on both sides ensued as Bragg bent Rosecrans' line around nearly into a circle.  Rosecrans held on during the night and into January 1st, and false reports indicating a Union retreat kept Bragg in place also. On January 2nd, Rosecrans still stubbornly held his ground.  Maj. Gen. John Breckinridge's division attacked the Union left late that afternoon and nearly achieved a breakthrough, but massed artillery broke up the assault. Both sides held their ground as the fighting ended on January 3rd. Although the battle was a tactical draw, the Union repulse of two attacks and the arrival of reinforcements made Bragg’s position untenable and dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee. Bragg retreated on January 3rd, granting the North a valuable strategic victory in the middle of an otherwise dismal winter.

 

 

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
76,400

Union

41,400

Confederate

35,000
Total Estimated Casualties
24,645

Union

12,906
1,677
killed
7,543
wounded
3,686
missing & captured

Confederate

11,739
1,294
killed
7,945
wounded
2,500
missing & captured