Hallowed Ground

IMG_9809

Stones River National Battlefield

The Battle of Stones River, a hard earned victory for Lincoln. More than 81,000 men fought here. 23,000 men gave their all in one of the bloodiest battles fought in the Western theater. The defeat of Bragg’s Confederates at Stone River allowed Rosecrans and the Union to control Middle Tennessee and the Union supply route along the Nashville Pike. Murfreesboro was the launching point for the campaigns that slashed through the heart of the South and dealt a deathblow to the Confederacy.

Lincoln needed a victory after the Union defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia and the ongoing struggle to take Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Lincoln hoped that General William Rosecran and his army would prove victorious at the Battle of Stones River. A success would bolster the North’s spirits.

Round Forest This is the only Union position that held throughout the first day's battle.

Round Forest
This is the only Union position that held throughout the first day’s battle.

DECEMBER 31, 1862

Confederates struck the first blow at dawn. By 10 AM they had driven the Union into the woods but only the Union’s strong resistance in the Slaughter Pen prevented a Union rout. Rosecrans troops beat back the Confederates, inflicting heavy casualties. General Brigg tried to revive his offensive in the Round Forest, which became known as Hell’s Half Acre. Soldiers from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky held fast and left hundreds of Confederates dead or wounded. The battle ended at dusk.

The Slaughter Pen Union soldiers fiercely defended their position here. There were heavy losses to both sides.

The Slaughter Pen
Union soldiers fiercely defended their position here. There were heavy losses to both sides.

The Slaughter Pen Bodies piled up on the rocks and blood soaked the ground.

The Slaughter Pen
Bodies piled up on the rocks and blood soaked the ground.

Most Civil War monuments were built 30 years or more after the war. This one, the Hazen Brigade Monument was built in 1863, 6 months after the battle, by the comrades of the men who died here. It is the oldest Civil war monument in the nation.

Most Civil War monuments were built 30 years or more after the war. This one, the Hazen Brigade Monument was built in 1863, 6 months after the battle, by the comrades of the men who died here. It is the oldest Civil war monument in the nation.

Veterans called this blood soaked open ground, Hell's Half Acre because of the many dead and wounded men stacked here.

Veterans called this blood soaked open ground, Hell’s Half Acre because of the many dead and wounded men stacked here.

 

There is faded inscriptions on all 4 sides. It reads,  Hazen's Brigade to the memory of its soldiers who fell at Stone River Dec. 31, 1862 "Their faces toward heaven, their feet to the foe."

There is faded inscriptions on all 4 sides. It reads,
Hazen’s Brigade
to the memory of its soldiers who fell at Stone River Dec. 31, 1862
“Their faces toward heaven, their feet to the foe.”

JANUARY 1,1863

Both armies rested. The Confederates dug trenches at the edge of the cotton field. Both prepared for the onslaught they knew was coming on the morrow.

The Cotton Field

The Cotton Field

The fence row depicts the area where the Confederates dug in and waited out the night.

The fence row depicts the area where the Confederates dug in and waited out the night.

JANUARY 2, 1863

Bragg is surprised to find Union troops on the high ground east of the river. He orders 4,500 men to seize the hill. The assault begins in late afternoon and culminates in the Confederates taking the hill. The Union retreats to the McFadden Ford river crossing with the Feds in pursuit. Here the Confederates are taken by surprise for supporting Union troops have 57 cannon aimed in their direction.

Artillery Monument on top the high ground at McFadden's farm.

Artillery Monument on top the high ground at McFadden’s farm.

Looking up the slope to the high ground, Stones River down below.

Looking up the slope to the high ground, Stones River down below.

As the Feds come into range, they are fired upon by the Union, Within minutes, 1,800 men lie dead or wounded. The decimated Confederates withdraw.

McFadden's Ford on the Stones River.

McFadden’s Ford on the Stones River.

 

The Battle of Stones River cost 13, 249 Union soldiers and 10, 266 Confederate soldiers their lives.

Bragg leaves Murfreesboro and Rosecran declares the battle a victory for the North.

IMG_3698               IMG_3709

STONES RIVER NATIONAL CEMETERY

After the battle, most Union and Confederate soldiers were buried upon the field where they died. In 1865, soldiers of the 111th US Colored Infantry began the grim task of disinterring the dead and reburying the Union dead in the new Stones River National Cemetery.

IMG_3701

Over 6,100 Union soldiers are buried here, 2.500 of them are unknown.

The muffled drums sad roll has beat The soldier's last tattoo. No more on life's parade shall meet That brave and fallen few.

The muffled drums sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo.
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.

 

Don and I share an interest in Civil War history. Don, had considered becoming an American History teacher at one time and I had family that fought for the South in the “War of Northern Aggression”. It is our intent to visit several Civil War battlefields, monuments and the like as we travel to get a better understanding of it.

IMG_3653

 

Here’s lookin’ at you kid…………………….

IMG_3672     IMG_3721     IMG_9808     IMG_3720

 

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “Hallowed Ground

  1. What a great way to learn about history…beautiful pictures Gayle. Thanks for sharing…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: