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The Battle of Stones River – Civil War

On December 31, 1862, the Confederate Army of Tennessee led by General Braxton Bragg and the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans faced off in the Battle of Stones River, also known as the Battle of Murfreesboro, in Tennessee. The bloody battle, fought December 31, 1862 – January 2, 1863, resulted in nearly 24,000 casualties – or nearly one-third of the battle’s participants. Although the battle was indecisive, it was a psychological victory for Union forces.

Earlier in December, the Union Army had suffered defeat at Fredericksburg. They desperately needed a victory to bolster morale and increase support for President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that was to take effect on January 1st.

The Confederates were also coming off a defeat at Perryville, Kentucky. General Bragg’s forces retreated and reorganized in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They hoped to drive Union forces out of Tennessee.

On December 26th, Rosecrans left Nashville to confront the Confederates 30 miles away. The weather was miserable and slowed the advance. The rain turned roads into muddy quagmires that froze when the temperatures dropped at night. Union forces reached Murfreesboro on December 30th and set up camp across from Confederate lines. As both sides bedded down for the night, the two military bands played within earshot of one another. They alternated songs and at one point both bands joined together and the soldiers sang Home Sweet Home. As night fell, everyone awaited the imminent battle.

At dawn on December 31st, the Confederate forces were the first to strike. They launched an assault on the Union right flank, intending to encircle Union troops from behind and drive them to Stones River. Meanwhile, Rosecrans’ battle plan was nearly identical. He hoped to place Union forces in between the Confederate Army and their supplies at Murfreesboro.

Initially, Confederate troops held the advantage, driving Union forces back towards the Nashville Pike. Union forces set up a defensive line and intense fighting resulted in horrendous casualties on both sides. One area became known as the Slaughter Pen because of the carnage.

Bragg’s troops launched four separate attacks in an attempt to splinter Union forces. A Union brigade led by Colonel William B. Hazen, held the line. A monument built in 1863 to honor Hazen’s Brigade is the oldest American Civil War monument still standing in its original location.

There was little fighting on January 1st. The lull gave General Rosecrans a chance to strategize and send for fresh supplies and ammunition from Nashville. Both sides cared for their wounded. On January 2nd, Bragg launched another attack on the Union left. Rosecrans counterattacked and drove the Confederates back with heavy artillery. The Confederates retreated and Union forces declared victory.

If you would like to learn more about the Battle of Stones River, or other Civil War battles, search our archives at Fold3!

179 Comments

  1. Excellent brief. There is so much to learn from our history. On my dad’s side, our family history goes back further than the Civil War. Mom’s side, no. My grand parents immigrated from Sweden around 1891. Traced my dad’s side back to 1507, John Purdee, Odiham, UK.

    • My great grandfather fought was wounded, captured and then paroled by the forces of northern aggression. He returned home and then rejoined his unit D Co 20th Tenn.He went on to fight at the Battle of Franklin where he was again wounded and captured. He was sent to the Yankees hospital in Louisville where he healed was then again paroled. He again went home and then rejoined his unit fought and was wounded and eventually paroled for a final time after being wounded and captured at the Battle of Chicamunga(sp) in Eastern Tennessee. He remained a loyal and true Son of the South. My family has been fighting amerikas wars since French and Indians war on maternal side and the Powhatan war on paternal side. We’ve remained true but amerika has turned her back on me and my relatives.

  2. My 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Lincoln, was wounded at Stone’s River and spent the rest of his time in the Invalid Corps.
    He was born in 1832 and died in the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy, IL in 1898. But his severe wound made for a hard life as it did for many others.

    • There’s a facebook group called “Adams County Illinois Genealogy” if you’re interested.

    • Three of my paternal great-grandfather’s brothers were at the Battle of Stones River – one on the Union side and two on the Confederate side. One was killed in the battle, one died a few days later and the third came home severely wounded and died a few years later. One maternal great-grandfather was killed in the Battle of Franklin and another taken prisoner at Vicksburg.

      In researching the ancestor taken prisoner at Vicksburg an attorney friend asked if I’d research his ancestor who was killed at Vicksburg. I found that he was not killed but taken prisoner and he and my ancestor were in the same company.

  3. My gr gr uncle, William H Ferguson, of the Indiana 38th, company A fought and died at the Battle of Stones River on the first day of fighting. He fought valiantly and is considered a hero in our family. We cherish the letters he sent home from the war.

  4. This is NOT usually referred to as the Battle of Murfreesboro as there was an earlier Battle of Murfreesboro that was fought on July 13, 1862, involving Genetal Nathan B Forrest’s cavalry.

    • True, The Battle of Stones River

    • Actually, it IS referred to as the Battle of Murfreesboro. There were three. The First Battle of Murfreesboro was on July 13, 1862. During the First Battle, Union Col. Wm. Duffield surrendered to CSA’s Nathan Bedford Forrest after Duffield’s 9th Michigan Infantry was hit by a surprise attack. The Battle of Stones River was the Second Battle of Murfreesboro. the Third Battle of Murfreesboro was fought on Dec. 5-7, 1864.

  5. For some (especially those of Carlin’s Brigade and especially the 21st Illinois) the battle began of December 30. Company I,composed of boys from Crawford county Illinois, lost over 10 boys and had ever more wounded. No, you cannot say the battle began on New Years Eve in our eyes.

  6. Two of my second great uncles fought at Stone’s River. James & David McClanahan. Along with many of their neighbors from Ellejoy Community of Blount County, Tennessee. They were in Co. B 3rd Regiment Tenn. Cav Vols. James contracted typhoid fever and died there and David went on to Athens, Ala. and at Sufphur Creek was captured and imprison at Cahaba and later was on the Sultana and survived that as well. We are proud of both James & David and consider them family heroes. May they rest in peace.

    • Eddie McClanahan,
      Are we related? my gr. grandfather Edmund Burke McClanahan also fought at
      Stone’s River. He was wounded but survived. He was later the Judge Advocate General for Braxton Bragg.
      Preston Moore McClanahan

    • Preston don’t know if we are kin. Where did your McClanahans come from? Funny though my 4th great grandmother was Jane Moore daughter of James Moore.

  7. My great, great grandfather, Thomas Wilson Billingsley, of Lodi, Mississippi, served in Company C, 30th Mississippi and died during the Stones River campaign, but perhaps not of a wound. He was reportedly deathly ill at the start of it, most likely due to the horrible weather which occurred that week. He died on the 13th of January, having been left behind with others ill or wounded. He was on a list of prisoners captured at Stones River.
    Dunbar Rowland’s book, “A History of the 30th Mississippi Regiment,” says he was listed as “killed at Murfreesboro.”
    I do not know the location of his remains.
    He had been promoted to Captain, saying that the reason for his promotion was that he was one of the few remaining men in the 30th who could read or write.

    T. W. Billingsley left a legacy in his descendants. One of his grandsons, William Devotie Billingsley, was an early Navy aviator and was the first Naval aviator killed in the line of duty on 20 June 1913.

    T. W. Billingsley’s brother, 1st Lt Martin Truman Billingsley, was killed at Chickamauga.

    • My great, great grandfather, Francis Marion Sykes was also C Co, 30th Mississippi. He fought at The Battle of Stones River. He was hospitalized close to the end of the war with malaria and was mustered out at the war’s end. Thanks for the information about the book as I have been looking for some more information on the 30th Mississippi and haven’t found much.

    • My gr. gr. gr. uncle Jarvus Hayden from Owen Co. KY. fought to help drive the uninvited soldiers of the Union Army out of KY early in the War of Northern Aggression. He was captured then paroled. Back on active duty he fought and was captured again this time at the surrender of Vicksburg. He remained in a Union prison to the War ended. A brief stop back home when he was released, he then headed out West to Texas to get as far away from the North as he could get and never heard from again.

    • You might want to check the 1870 and 1880 census records in the area around Waco, many Confederates moved there forming the Tennessee Colony. Might check for particularly for same Last Name but different 1st name (possibly different spelling).

  8. Lost a great uncle,1st Lt. Jesse Mohon, 3rd Alabama Cavalry, at Stones River. My wife had a cousin, Pvt George Butchee, 24th MS Infantry, killed there also,

  9. Too Bad! Those old racist were and still are on the wrong side of history. They got what they deserved for being traitors. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for everyone.

    • Mr. Jackson as a 2nd great nephew to two Union soldiers who fought there and one James McClanahan died there at Stone’s River and as a veteran myself I resent that remark. We as veterans fight so all Americans have freedoms. America was not or ever has been perfect. We strive toward it every day and have made some progress with much more to be accomplished. What Abraham Lincoln knew then and what we should know now is united we stand and divided we fall. Let’s stand together as one Nation under God! We are Americans!

    • It is very hard, as a Tennessean with both Union and Confederate ancestors, to deal with those who are determined to treat the Old South with such veneration. So many young, mislead southern men fought for the right of a few rich land-slave owners to make their fortunes in such a truly immoral way (“states rights”? not really). It took my family generations to recover from their folly. I am proud of my Union ancestors and sad for the useless losses of my Confederate ones. Nothing glorious here, folks.

    • Mrs. Jay how correct you are. This was a hard time for America. Sometimes even brother against brother. Slavery was some of the reason for the Civil War but not all. As bad as slavery was let’s not forget how our Native Americans were treated as well and although many slaves were treated badly some even being killed,today we still have abortion which all are killed so as Americans we still have things to work on to make it better. We have to unite and work together.

    • You are the Haters. The African Americans were African slaves sold to Portuguese and from there to England then to New England Then sold to South where they were mostly cared for Had a living and food. BUT. Look at African slaves now who are being butchered in Africa. . The Americans decendents who are more patriotic and American than you are not dying of aides Are not starving Are much better off than they were in Africa. They resented being called African Americans Most had been born in the USA at time of war. Last import was 1803-5 They were treated well Fed had a home they did not ejoy that in Africa Even today and much more today they are more fortunate to have been taken on the route from Africa. They did not want to go back LINCOLN thought they were inferior and wanted to send them back.
      People like you who are still throwing blame on “racial hatreted” are fueling the fire.

    • You are carrying water from a dry creek.

    • Some nut jobs think all Confederates were slave owners. But what about the other slave owners and brokers like Yale, yes the one the school is named after? Or George Washington or Thomas Jefferson?

      If you want to rid yourself of anything that reminds you of slavery then get rid of Yale University and all diplomas from that school endowed with money earned from the sale of humans as slaves! Then send me all the pictures you have of Washington and Jefferson in your wallet, I’m sure they are constant reminders of slavery you wish to get rid of.

    • Terry Jackson,
      My family has served the United States since the beginning of this Nation. I, too, resent your insinuation that the men and women who fought for, and supported, the Confederacy were traitors.
      They believed in the ideal that led us to leave the English Crown and become the Nation we are today.
      Whether or not you believe in their Cause, you cannot and should not denigrate their memories.
      They are part of our history!

    • Well said, I too have chased the old family tree, even have a TORY in the family. Interestingly enough my family during the War was from Cannon County Tennessee. Have the old church records starting in 1832 and continued til early 1900’s. The minutes are from what was then called the Baptist Church of Christ. In the late 1850’s this Church split- many members remained Baptist, but a large portion formed the Methodist Church. Interestingly when the War broke out, the Baptist remained loyal to the UNION whereas the Methodist joined the Confederacy. To the best of my knowledge there was only one slave owner in the entine area belonging to my Great great Grandfather who was a Methodist Minister. The slave was a female, house slave, who went with them to church and lived with them even after the war.

    • Mr. Jackson,
      Sadly you are detached from the historical facts and carnage that war brought to all our nation. Those racist you referred to were Americans and exercised their states rights when seceding from the union. The cause of secession was not solely motivated by, as you suggest, racist ideals but were greatly due to the tariffs (taxes) being imposed by a government run by northern states and their interest. The fact that slavery was legal in all of the United States, escapes your understanding. As a southern American, whose ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The Civil War for the CSA, WWI, WWII, and I retired a CDR, USN, I find your remarks racist.

    • You are a miserable piece of crap who I am sure never stood up for anything. War is hell and it doesn’t matter what side you are on, you are fighting for what you believe is right and for your buddies.
      “For those of us that fought and bled for it, life and liberty is a taste the protected shall never know .”
      For you lowlifes that call other people racist for having ideals different then someone else or that are proud of their heritage, just don’t understand what makes this country great. It also sounds to me that the biggest racist here is you.

    • Terry, please do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the subject of slavery in terms of a worldwide system of labor. Then look at slavery in the Americas. In this hemisphere, you will find that slavery wasn’t just a North American institution but a Caribbean and South American system of labor as well. In fact you may be surprised to know that slavery was on the world wide stage and didn’t involve just African’s; it involved many races over the centuries.

      Then educate yourself on traitorous acts during the civil war. President Lincoln struck a blow to the constitution when he suspended habeas corpus in 1862 (a traitorous act) and then the freedom of speech in 1863 (another traitorous act) by banning the publication of Chicago Times. If the southern plantation African slave owners were racist then all nations, peoples, and religious organizations were racist too including the black and American Indian slave owners operating in the Confederate States of America. What are you referencing in your statement? Is it referenced in liberal propaganda? If so, please think for yourself!

      As appalling as any form of slavery is today, historically speaking, it wasn’t. For most of world history it was an acceptable form of labor. Right or wrong, check yourself to see which side of history you are on?

    • Terry Jackson, those brave men had courage you’ll never know. They fought for principles in which they believed, unlike trash like you. They are also honored by the U.S. Congress as AMERICAN veterans with full rights, so your babble about them being “traitors” is just an ignorant smear cast by an ignoramus (that would be you). Confederate soldiers were no more traitors than were the Revolutionary soldiers who fought against England, many of whom were the grandfathers and great grandfathers of the Confederates. Get a life and try to educate yourself, moron. I’m a veteran and I’ll bet good money that you aren’t. You are clueless.

    • Your ignorance is overwhelming.

    • Moron – it’s history. I had blood relatives on both sides, today’s ideology is irrelevant to historical events.

    • It’s so nice to read so many conservative comments here. Conservatives are not racist.

      Most of the slaves were kidnapped by other Africans and sold. There were a lot of Muslims stealing people to sell them as slaves. Some Muslims were slaves, themselves. Blacks and Indigenous Peoples both owned slaves.

      The war started over the horrible taxing and stealing of Southern goods to the North. The South exercised their Constitutional right to leave the Union. When people got tired of the war, the moral on both sides were lifted by proclaiming all men would be free.

      Yes, all combatants, North and South, receive full honors and pensions.

      As for throwing the race card around…. that’s very REALLY OLD and is losing its power over people…. as is the plan, of course of the NWO.

      I was against tearing down monuments, but not because I’m racist. It’s our history. All was forgiven by the Union Government. The Union invited the South back into the fold and helped rebuild the South.

      Many Confederates received medals and were honored with statues for their service….. from the NORTH!

      If they could forgive all back then, why can’t we now?

      We are One Nation, Under God!

    • The only bad thing was that more thieving, lying, rapist Yankees weren’t killed.

    • It’s been 156 years. Don’t you think it’s about time you got over it?

    • How terribly ignorant

    • They were not traitors. They were sovereign states just like the northern states. How would you like it, if now, The South was dictating to The North? The War of Northern Aggression was unnecessary.

  10. I’m always shocked and saddened by those that still wallow in the self pity of the south losing the right to enslave other humans. Basically having labor costs for your business at near zero. What a deal. When that ended, when they actually had to pay for labor, the south’s economy collapsed.
    I wonder if some French people hate Italians for Caesar’s defeat and enslavement of the Gauls?

    • ZERO COST; don’t think so. 1st you either had to buy or raise the slave to work, housing, food, clothing and medical care. These slaves were treated much better than most labor forces at that time. Look at the factory workers during this period and afterwards. Slave owners had a lot invested in these workers and had to make sure they could work. Most were not the horrible Masters that you see in the movies or on TV.

    • Ron,

      Keep your feelings out of the blog and keep history in context. One reason why the economy of the south collapsed was due to northern aggression in land and at sea and destruction of infrastructure.

    • Ron Reynolds, you sound like another one who is ignorant of authentic history. Who do you think BROUGHT most of the slaves to America? The Northern shippers. The North embraced slavery as well, it just didn’t work in a factory setting as it did in a farming setting. Ulysses S. Grant was a slaveowner who didn’t free his slaves until after the Emancipation Proclamation (which was issued a year and a half into the war when the North was losing and needed a new rallying cry). The war was initially fought over SECESSION, not slavery, as Lincoln so famously proclaimed in his letter to Horace Greely. The Yankees needed the tariff income from Southern cotton, which provided the bulk of the tax revenue and the Yankees didn’t want to lose their cash cow. So get off your high horse, you sanctimonious fool. Study what really happened and try to understand the times as they existed back then.

    • No need for name calling or insults there, Jerr.

      Why did they succeed? Because of States Rights, specifically the right to hold slaves AND enable slavery as the nation expanded.

      As far as the Union needing the taxes on cotton, not sure about that. Don’t know why southern taxes would be all that important when most all the industry was in the north.In fact, a big reason the Union won was because of the industrial might in the north. While the south was agrarian, the north was industrialized and could manufacture war materiel at a pace the south could not match. Add to that the Union blockade of southern ports and it was just a matter of time.

      I do know a wee bit about history.

  11. My great grandfather was taken prisoner by the Union Army at Murfreesboro. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war and suffered a great deal while he was held.

    • Robert, Thank you for getting this blog on track! The topic is the Battle of Stones River—not throwing mud at each other for one’s current feelings about life in the 1800’s. My great grandfather, Emil Perron Colin, immigrated from France in 1855, enlisted in the Union Army in 1861. 1st Missouri Battery G under Sheridan. He survived battles at Perryville, KY, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. I think he had PTSD, unrecognized then, because he became an alcoholic and only worked as a shoemaker now and then. The family lived in poverty, and my grandfather had no education. I suspect many CW veterans had PTSD.

  12. My 3rd Great-uncle, Pvt George Washington Aylor Sr, Private, Company C, 4th Battalion, Arkansas Infantry, CSA was awarded the Southern Cross of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro) Tennessee. (General Orders 131, dated 3 Oct 1863)

    Enlisted Oct. 31st, 1861 at Little Rock, Arkansas in Company C, 4th Battalion Arkansas Infantry. Saw action in the battles Shiloh, TN (Apr 6-7, 1862) Corinth, MS Campaign (Apr-Jun 1862) Richmond, KY (Aug 19-30 1862) Murfreesboro, TN (Dec 31 1862-Jan 3 1863) Siege of Jackson, MS (Jul 1863) Chickamauga, GA (Sept 19-20 1863) Wounded (shot) at Shiloh, TN in April 1862 Detailed as blacksmith Jan 10, 1863. Awarded the “Southern Cross of Honor” for his actions in the Battle at Murfreesboro (CSA, General Order Number 131/3, dated Oct 3, 1863) because of a lack of physical medals he was added to the Confederate Roll of Honor (CSA, General Order Number 64, dated Aug 10, 1864) Captured Sept 19, 1863 at Chickamauga, and sent to the Military Prison at Camp Douglas, IL, Oct 1863. Discharged Jun 14th, 1865 and returned to Clark Co, AR.

  13. My great grandmother was related to Braxton Bragg. Much of the adversity about him is his lack of charisma. He actually was a great warrior. Sherman and Bragg fought stir by side against Mexico to win New Mexico Arizona and California before the civil war They won. Together. He retired to a sugar plantation in Louisiana. He had great concerns about his slaves. They starved were never taken care of after the war. My great grandmother s husband was abducted into union army in Missouri. He lost everything. Was I’ll until his seat. His prosperous farm was lost to Unio he had served. She supported family rest of her life sewing and laundry

  14. My 3x great-grandfather is buried there, and we were able to tour the battlefield last year.

  15. Some very good remarks listed above. I had a Grandfather (Union) 5th Tn Cav there and several of his brother in laws (CSA) at that battle. All survived. They fought for what they believed in (right or wrong) and we as their descendents will never know the true reason they fought and died. They were all honorable men!!

  16. My 2 great-great uncles, Noah & Jabez Smith fought in the Battle of Stones River with the 1st Ohio Infantry. They survived that battle but were both captured at the Battle of Chickamauga and died in Andersonville Prison of starvation in July of 1864.

  17. We visited Stones River battlefield May 2017. The NPS Information center was very helpful in reviewing the battle and guiding us to special areas of the battlefield. Having graduated from Gettysburg College as a history major, I had early access to Civil War history. Through ancestry.com, I found my great Uncle was in the New York 14th heavy artillery and was wounded at Petersburg at the Battle of Ft. Stedman.. He “died in the hands of the enemy”, according to his military record, at the Confederate General Hospital in Richmond.

  18. Mr Gilbert, I agree. I too have ancestors who fought in every war this country has waged even the pre Revolutionary “Indian Wars.” I lost ancestors on both sides of this horrific war. Each had their reason for choosing which side to fight on. Their reasons had little to do with slavery. All were patriots. I am proud to be descended from these brave men who fought for their country. The pains of creating this great Nation should be remembered with reverence so as not to repeat them.

  19. To Mr. Gilbert & Mr. Barnes I agree with both of you and thankful there are those like you who do truly understand what America is really all about. Throughout our history we have made many mistakes and have done many wrong things but we as Americans have strived to better ourselves and have compassion for our fellow citizens and for that matter the whole world. It’s time we stop seeing color and democrats & republicans and our other differences and live & work together for the better cause. We don’t have to agree on everything but on some things just to agree to disagree. Then America’s future will be bright.

    • Dear Sir,
      Having read all comments to this point, I appreciate your latest contribution. I too, as a Tennessean whose ancestors settled in Middle and West Tennessee in the 1820’s-1830’s, had ancestors who fought for the Union and the Confederacy. Too often we fail to put events of earlier times into the context of those circumstances.
      More recently some of my generation served in Vietnam and some others protested in the March on Washington, when President Nixon was in the White House. Both had reasons to support their beliefs and actions during those troubling years. Both responded to their government(s) according to their beliefs at that time.
      Now, we’ve moved on, and as an extended family we continue to meet annually at our family reunion with respect and compassion for all. Last year was our 71st.

  20. My second great grandfather (WI 15th)was sniped, buried and grave was not found. I’m currently in Iraq with the National Guard doing what both sides were supposed to do during the CW. Difference now…I’m 61.5 years old and these people we are here for have no values and no respect for the US.

    • Jerrymolstad,

      Thank you for serving.
      My ancestors fought on both sides of every war we have been in, excluding the Mexican War and the Spanish-American War.
      I personally served in the Viet Nam Era and through the Gulf War and you are right. Most people that we are defending around the world and those coming here as “migrants” have no idea, nor do they care, about the United States or our way of life.

    • Bless you for your efforts. I send care packages to Military members and my Son recently retired after 20 years service as EOD. It is not a subject that our young Warriors talk about to Civilians, but I know the horrors and lack of humanity that this medievial enemy is. Whatever means our Spec Ops or anyone deployed there should NEVER be reprimanded for destroying this enemy. Any means to destroy this enemy is not shown on the idiotic press and I can assure you I only need to know our Military are safe and not subjected to the horrors of our enemy.

  21. I Thank God for all men North and South who fought and died for their beliefs during the this horrific time of our nations growth. The bloodiest war took more Americans lives than all US wars combined.
    Whatever your side, IE. northern aggression, racist greedy southerns, pales to comparison of the loss of life of dedicated men from both sides who would literally march into direct line of fire because of their personal dedication to their side.
    To all haters, this war was fought already. It was decisively won.
    Let’s leave the Battles of this war for the reasons they where fought at the places they where fought, not on-line.
    Let’s leave the victory of those battles to The United States Of America.

  22. My 2X Great Grand Uncle died in this battle. He was only seventeen years old.

  23. My GGraqndfather was the music director at the battle. Go on youtube and put in “Dear Sister” a music video based on one of four brothers writing to his sister on this battle. I saw the display on it in Murfreesboro Tenn. about 35 years ago. About 10 years ago doing family research found my relative was there. Accidental found the story of letters to a sister which led me to the videio.

  24. Blevins

    My ancestors fought un every war, starting with the Indian Wars. I am proud of everyone of them, because they were fighting for what they believed in and is our history. History is very important. Look back at world history. You may be able to understand the present and possibly the future.

  25. Wow. Thank you for this Excellent article!

  26. If Jeff Davis had replaced Bragg with General Nathan Bedford Forest earlier in the war, the Confederate would have won that battle. Forest was one of the genius that came out of the Civil War. He waged war as war was meant to be waged against the north from 1861 to 1865 and won nearly all of the conflicts he lead.

    BTW, my descendants fought and died for the Union side.

    • Forrest was a good general overall, and great in some respects. But from what I’ve read, he was flawed when it came doing what cavalry was supposed to do – serve as the eyes and ears of an army. He was great at leading independent commands in actions and on raids, but he often left Bragg, or anyone else relying on information about the enemy to make decisions, a bit lacking of that.

    • J.E.B. Stuart did the same thing at Gettysburg and left the Confederate forces without the necessary intel they needed to be truly effective.

  27. While visiting relatives from Shelbyville, one cousin said that for most TN families 2/3 fought for the South and 1/3 for the North. Did find that in our tree. One died in prison in IL, another in Chicamauga (?) but the Union brother lived one.

    • Linda Tennessee is divide into 3 sections east middle & west. Most of the east were union loyalist. One reason was because the land was to hilly and not much cotton was grown. Also they were poorer in the east and most couldn’t afford the cost of slaves. 2 of my 2nd great uncles fought at Stone’s River and one died there.

  28. For more information on the battle of Stones River get the book “The Edge of Glory” A Biography of General William S. Rosecrans by William M. Lamers. You can find the book on Ebay and it is worth the price.

  29. “Chuck Mangione
    December 8, 2018 at 10:56 am
    Ron,

    Keep your feelings out of the blog and keep history in context. One reason why the economy of the south collapsed was due to NORTHERN AGGRESSION IN LAND AND AT SEA…..”

    You mean like in a real war? Just think how much easier it would have been on Jefferson Davis had those dang Yankees not been aggressive in defending the Union. What a bunch of cheaters.

    (BTW, I have one of your albums.)

    • Northern aggression means that the north invaded the south. The south defended their homeland and their right of self-determination. The northern armies were brutal as described by Dr. D.H. Trezevant, who wrote about Sherman actions in the South, describing him as “one of the most ruthless invaders that ever cursed the earth by his presence” due in part of the “utter devastation between Columbia to North Carolina”.

      The writings of novelist William Gilmore Simms tell a tale of barbarity as he describes women who in the surrounding countryside were horribly used, raped, and murdered by the invading armies. These were the people that the north was supposedly trying to free. Atrocities like this and that of ‘Federal troops who opened up new graves in search of jewels and other valuables’ do not belong in the theater of war.

  30. For those of you that feel the South were a bunch of traitors, let me remind you that 32 years later the United States was in another war (Spanish American). Although very short lived the Southern states furnished a third of the troops that enlisted in this War, including many ex- Confederates, including at least 5 Confederate Generals Confederate. Our sacrifices during ever war have been tried and true. No states have offered more for the freedom of this great country.

    Interesting article I just found, makes me proud to be an American and a Southerner:

    ” It should not be thought strange that the people of the South would burn with patriotic ardor against a foreign foe. While giving full credit to the South for her patriotism in the recent war with Spain, it is with pride that she can point to her past history in every instance where national honor and national statesmanship were needed to defend the flag of the Union, or be aggressive for its advancement. Leaving out her record of the great civil war, she points back to the spirit of the Southern colonial people, as broad and liberal, active in the general defense against the Indians and in the French wars. The first battle of the revolutionary war was fought on Southern soil, and the signal for resistance came from the South. The most critical and pressing struggle of the revolutionary war was carried on in the South and in the face of continual disaster. The devastations of that war were nearly all on her soil. A Southern colony furnished most of the soldiers in the army of the American revolution, and a Southern State finds a place in her soil for the bones of more revolutionary soldiers than any other State. A Southern State was the first to organize an independent State government. The union of the thirteen revolting colonies, under the articles of confederation, was only made possible by the self-sacrifice of Virginia, who, to allay the fears of the smaller commonwealths, gave up her large northwestern territory to common ownership. The federal convention that gave us that greatest of all documents ever drawn by the hand of man, was presided over by a Southern member. And finally, when the ship of state was launched, with singular unanimity a Southern hand was called to the helm. With the exception of Alaska, no acquisition of territory had been made except through the effort of Southern statesmen, and generally in opposition to those of the North. It was Jefferson, who, by the purchase of Louisiana, extended the domain of the United States to the Rocky mountains, notwithstanding the violent threats of secession which came from the Northeast. Oregon, Florida, California and Texas–purchases and annexations –extended her domain to the Pacific, when Southern men occupied the presidential chair. In every war the national honor has been practically upheld by the South. In the cause of the national government in 1812, New England responded with the Hartford convention, looking to the dismemberment of the Union. Impartial history will show that our “Southern ancestors were not drones in the hives and mere participants in the blessings which other sections have conferred,” but on all occasions they did their duty like manly men and were leaders in all that “has largely made the United States, governed her, administered justice from her judicial tribunal, commanded her armies, created her greatness.” It should not be forgotten that the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, at the close of the revolutionary war, had over two-thirds of the territory acquired by the United States from Great Britain by the treaty of Paris, and gave it up to the general government. The South, standing by its patriotic record, and tendering all its resources to the government, cordially bids our reunited country God-speed.”

  31. BTW, The English did view those rebels, who were Englishmen at the time of the Revolutionary war, traitors AND had we lost, many of the founding fathers probably would have been hung, shot or imprisoned as such.

    • As it was, a number of the men (and their families) lost everything during the Revolution.
      During the years after the Civil War, a number of Southerners lost everything because of the repressive policies of Lincoln’s Vice President Andrew Johnson’s (who, by the way, was a Southerner) Administration. The Yankees moving South were called Carpetbaggers and stole as much as they could.
      Had Lincoln lived, there may have been a different outcome to the Reconstruction. OBTW, if you fast-forward about 100 years, you will find another Segregationist named Johnson (also a Southerner) destroying the Black Middle Class of the United States with the not so “Great Society”.

  32. I lost relatives on both sides. The family was from Maryland and one of the boys moved to Va. Both were killed in battle.

  33. ron reynolds, whoever told u that u are some type of authority on history, was almost as ignorant as yourself.

  34. I’ve been keeping up with this all day. Although I disagree totally with MR. Jackson I went to war for him to have the freedom to speak his mind as well as all my brother & sister veterans. It’s sad we can’t learn from our past mistakes and come together but hey look at how our politicians act. We need to agree to disagree and move on. Life is to short and to many things need to be worked out to live in the pass. We’ve done fought this war.

    • “Agree to Disagree”
      To me that is a phrase the people turn to when they run out of argument before they start using obscenities against others.
      The Civil War, whether we like or not, no matter which side of the conflict our ancestors were on, is part of our history and should be treated as such.
      It was a terrible lesson to be learned but one, that through my studies and understanding, would have happened for one reason or another. One reason was taxation, two was a way of life (agrarian vs industrialization), third was State’s Rights and, lastly, slavery and whether or not it should be permitted to exist it the form of the time. Not necessarily in this order.
      To use another “trite phrase” from Santayana and later attributed to Churchill: “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it!”
      A warning to us from the past that today, we are on the down side of a roller coaster that may be difficult to stop.

  35. There is a diary online that provides some color of what life was like in Murfreesboro leading up to Stones River. It is transcribed and hosted by UNC in the Documenting the American South initiative – it is easily found by googling.

    I found it fascinating and it really brought home that after Murfreesboro was occupied, the residents lived behind enemy lines.

    Excerpt:

    Kate Carney Diary
    April 15, 1861-July 31, 1862

     May 251862
    This afternoon we were lying down, when we saw Ma come tipping upstairs with mysterious air which I could not make out. I rushed out on the back porch, (as I was undressed) and saw Ma pass through with a (what proved afterwards a confederate) soldier. She seemed greatly excited. He was one of our soldiers that had escaped jail, just half an hour ago & Ma was trying to disguise him so as to let him escape. He changed his clothes [and] shaved off his whiskers, (Ma giving him some of Pa’s clothes) making him look like quite a different man. Ma carried him up something to eat, he would not eat much said he had been to dinner, & would not take any more money, he had plenty. I hope he will get safely back to Starn’s Cavalry. He said we had 5,000 men just above here, had had a fight, & we killed 30 or 40 Yankees, & it was that night he was taken prisoner. That was the first time we had heard of the engagement. They always keep a defeat such a secret. This soldier came very near being discovered. There were three Yanks in the front hall who said they had come up to make Ma’s acquaintance, as they heard Ma fed their prisoners when Morgan captured them, & when our escaped prisoner asked for the master of the house, the servant asked him in to the front hall, & lo! & behold there sat the man that had captured him a few nights before, and not having any suspicions, they took no notice of him, & he asked Ma for some water and then told his story, so Ma had to play a double game, make herself agreeable to the Yankees whilst getting our soldier off, & I felt vastly relieved when he got off safe. Ma went up town this evening & Kate Avent returned with her home. Cousin William Tilford, wife & daughter stopped by & made a visit awhile this afternoon. An old sick Yankee came here this evening late, & Pa had his sympathies aroused [and] consented to let him stay all night, made me so angry i cried until bedtime & would not eat any supper. He was put into poor Legrand’s room to sleep, just to think, he may be lying out on the wet ground, wet hungry and sick & then for his enemy enjoying his room. I didn’t like [it] one bit.

  36. Check out the song “Dear Siater” by the Claire Lynch Band.

  37. I’d like to correct a couple of things here. 1) The last slave ships to America were the Wander, which landed with about 400 slaves (some reports say 465) at Jekyll Island, Georgia on 28 November 1858, and the schooner Clotilda which arrived in Mobile Bay with 110 slaves on 9 July 1860. Both ships picked up their cargos in Africa and brought them to the US. Wanderer lost about 70 slaves enroute; no losses were reported for Clotilda. Sadly, some of my ancestors were slave traders who traded rum, molasses and other goods in Africa for slaves and brought them back to the Caribbean.

    2) Remember the song, “Shortnin’ Bread”? One version goes, “Two little chillum lying in bed, one most sick and the other most dead. The doctor come and the doctor said, ‘Feed them chillum on shortnin bread.” The “two chillum” are two slave children dying of malnutrition and the doctor prescribes shortening bread because it is made with milk, eggs and butter or shortening, nutrients lacking in the childrens’ regular diet. Slave children were largely fed on corn meal mush with parasites and wood chips stirred in. Slaves on larger plantations ate better; ones on small holdings, which made less money, were fed less. Some slave owners would give their slaves a weekly ration of food, such as lard, corn meal, molasses, a little meat, flour and peas or other greens, while other owners expected their slaves to grow and forage for most of their food. A week’s ration might be a peck of corn meal (about 2 gallons), 3 pounds of meat for a man, or 1 1/2 pounds of meat for a woman. Pregnant women would have their rations cut, since they couldn’t work as much, and old slaves might not receive a ration at all. Contemporary writers wrote about hungry slaves coming up to them begging for food.

    3)Francis Kemble, a British actress who married a Georgian plantation owner, described slave quarters in her journal as “filthy and wretched in the extreme.” She said they had no tables, chairs, knives or forks, but ate their meals with crude wooden spoons.

    4) People keep saying that the Civil War was not about slavery, but about states’ rights, tariffs and taxes. But by saying this, they are overlooking two pertinent points, the first that the Southern economy was built on slavery, and the second that the Constitution of the Confederacy says, in Section 9,item 4.”No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” Further, in Article 4, Section 2, item 3.” No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs; or to whom such service or labor may be due.” The constitutions of the various states have similar wording. How can it be maintained that slavery was not part of the Confederacy, and hence not part of the reason for the Civil War, when it is written into the very framework of the nation?
    .

    .

    • Thanks Cynthia! Well said.

    • And how did the ships get the slaves or majority of them? From other black Africans specifically the Asanti Tribe. They were EXTREMELY RICH from the slave trade. One did not find many Dutch or brits heading off into the bush kidnapping villages here and there. Nope Negro captured Negro, by the hundreds.

    • I’ve said that very thing for years about the “Slave Trade.” It doesn’t make the “Slavery” issue any better from our side but it shows responsibility is shared. It’s also not discussed enough there was Black Slave Owners.

      I highly recommend the book called; “Complicity” How the North Promoted, Prolonged & Profited from Slavery.

      It was written by two women and a man from the “Hartford-Courant” from Hartford, Ct. with the forward done by a Ms. Higginbotham a Black woman educator. The book is long, at times very dry but extremely well researched. For me a rest “Eye Opener!”

    • Well Troop the south has the solid proof of the tariffs its documented. To give you some of my family history my Great Great great grandpa raised cotton, had slaves but got rid of them well before the War. Why, they cost too much. Also cattle was better profit than cotton sod busting and the negro was a lousy wrangler. So he kept a few of the good ones on as employees, like maids, butlers etc. let the others go on ther own and got rid of the need to feed, cloth, house and medicate.
      I got that from a great aunt who was an ace with family history etc. Now one who like facts. Grant Owned slaves he bought. Lee had slaves because they were willed to him. the us CENSUS SHOWED MOR FREE NEGROS IN THE sOUTH THAN THE north. Also the south allowed negros in the military from the start, AS VOLUNTERES. North did not have black unites till @ 1863. Negros were not forced in the south infact one, George Washington Yancey was captured 3 times by the Yanks, escaped three times returning to his CAS Unit and was a combatant.

      The CSA had the highest ranking minorities. The highest of either army was Stan Waite, BG. Was Indian and was the last CSA officer to Surrender. Hispanics? The highest in both armies was DOL Santos Benevedes 37th Texas Cav. CSA also included Jews of both officer and enlisted ranks as well as Catholics, and in the Navy some seamen from Hawaii.. .

      Yes slavery was A CAUSE, NOT THE ONLY CAUSE. There were slaves North of the Mason DIxon.

    • Don’t forget “Judah Benjamin” the first known openly Jewish man in a Cabinet position. Let’s also not forget a highly paid “Inland Boat Captain, Moses Dallas.”
      A ship named “Daphne” was busted in 1866 bringing Slaves and there’s a picture of the Slaves on the deck in the book I noted above.
      The biggest issue starting the War was the Tariff’s by the North on the South’s cotton. A way by the North to build their coiffure’s.

  38. Here’s a little family history of mine that I feel should be shared here. My family the McClanahans came from Virginia in the late 1780s to Jefferson County, Tennessee waiting for lands to open up to move further on. After the Tellico Treaty of 1798 they moved to what then was known as Tuckaleechee Cove in Blount County ,Tennessee now called Townsend and right near Cades Cove. There was 3 brothers James, David , & Mathew McClanahan. David was my 3rd great grandfather. By 1804 Mathew with his new family his father – in -law being John Bradley moved to Murfreesboro. Mathew became Murfreesboro’s sheriff. At the time of the Civil War 2 of my 2nd great uncles James & David had to walk many miles to join the Union Army in Kentucky as the Confederates had where they lived under siege. They were in the 3rd Tenn. Cal. Co. B. They were in Nashville and called to Stone’s River. Both David & James fight there and just a few days later James dies there of typhoid fever and still lies there in an unmarked grave.
    Of course with Mathew living in Murfreesboro where the land is good for growing cotton Mathew is a slave owner as well as his father-in-law John Bradley. Now in 1806 John Bradley donates some land in Murfreesboro for a school for white males. Now move forward to 1884 the school now called Bradley Academy is open to both male & female African Americans and to this day in Murfreesboro the Bradley Academy is open educating our Black brothers & sisters.
    So the lesson here is if a school can progress then why as we as Americans can’t put the pass behind us and come together and leave the pass in the pass!

  39. I suppose I have no right to comment on this post as I am a 5th generation Australian, though my husband’s father was a member of the U.S. Army/Air Force during the Second World War.

    I have been tracing my husbands ancestry on and off for over 25 years, going back as far as William The Conqueror. The family over all those years fought in so many wars with great loss of life on both sides. Some of his ancestors lived in the south and had slaves, some lived in the north and captained ships. Who knows what cargo they transported.

    During the Civil War one cousin from the south took over a fortified compound from another cousin in the north. Both knew each other and the families kept in touch with each other, but at that time it was kill or be killed. They were not the only family members that fought against each other, but it seems so sad that for all the lives that were lost on nothing seems to have been completely resolved.

    Good men were lost on both sides, terrible things happened to P.O.W on both sides, but we cannot change the past. I cannot understand why Confederate Flags cannot be proudly flown, or why statues of Confederate Generals need to be removed, America prides itself on being a democracy and everybody should be entitled to the own personal and religious views. Sadly, it is not so, My husband flies the American flag on 4th July and 9/11 but when we wished to purchase a Confederate Flag to fly we were told we were not allowed to fly it. If we did we woudl face a large fine.

    I guess the saying “all men are created equal” is a misguided idea, and will continue to be so as long as there is greed and corruption in the world. We will all have to get use to the idea of many good men and women dying in the future because colour plays such a big part in the overall scheme of things.

    • You have every Right to comment.
      The United States is still a Free Nation and we look to input from all.
      We have fought a Revolution and a Civil War to give that Right to our citizens and we can still learn from people with diverse backgrounds. Some say that we have not learned and some say that they don’t want to hear other opinions.
      Thank you for your comments.

    • Hi, Mel Butler,

      The flag question is easy to explain. It’s because of the White Supremacists. You know, those people of obvious moral and ethical inferiority who somehow think their white skin makes them superior to other people. They have seized on the Conferderate Stars and Bars, stripped it of any historical glory, and turned it into a symbol of virulent hate and racism. Black people here in the South are afraid of that flag — just what the White Supremacists intend.

      The question is, how are the descendants of these Confederates going to reclaim their flag from the White Supremacists?

    • Ms. Cynthia I thank you. You do know the truth. It is similar to the KKK using a cross. Albeit a burning cross. It represents nothing of Christianity. But many people her media say something and take it as Gospel. Very refreshing to see that you may not be like that.

  40. Thankyou for all the info great !

  41. I am Canadian but have relatives from both sides of the US civil war.
    I believe we are who we are because of our history. I believe we need to honor our history. People fought from their perspective at the time and people fight for what they believed in. Those who lose any war should not be blamed for following their beliefs. After all- isn’t the AMERICAN way of life predicated on the right to have and express an opinion. If you want to hide all the dirty laundry (which is a matter of perspective), then you will forever have a full time job. Look at current times.

    Be AMERICAN, for GODS sake. Honor a past that has created such a patriotic country. Stop acting like babies and pulling down things that are based in historical fact and move on already.

  42. My grandmother’s great-uncle served for the Illinois Infantry in this battle – he was wounded in the shoulder and could never use his left arm effectively after that. He laid in the mud for three days wounded before being taken to the Union hospital tent. His name – William Wallace Johnston of Adeline, Illinois

  43. Some of my family & I did the Ancestry DNA hoping to find out more about our late father’s paternal side. I show considerable Irish/Scottish as expected but & here’s the but.
    We assumed our late grandfather was Patrick Michael Murphy a man supposedly born in Kentucky in 1884. He was a governor appointed traveling guard in the Washington State Prison Systrm; a deputy sheriff a detective in Shipyards during WW II.
    Now I look at my late father’s Birth Certificate & his father’s name was John Murphy & his late mother would never change it.
    Next we find out Patrick Michael Murphy was prossibly Arthur Samuel Gasaway who also was Sam Green and Charles Miller before becoming a Murphy.
    I’ve attempted to contact Gasaway’s & Murphy’s to check for willingness to check DNA’s to no avail. Gasaway’s & Murphy’s fought on both sides of the War.
    Any suggestions?

    • There is a lot of Gassaway in Shelbyville, TN and Murfreesboro area that have been there forever. They may have taken tests.

    • Thanks! Arthur Samuel Gasaway’s father was Smith Logan Gasaway & mother Lizzie maiden name Liggins seen as Liggens.
      Arthur was born in Lebanon, Mo. in Feb. 1887. Some trees show him dead in Clay County. Ind. in 1905. I believe he just left never heard from again. This man under his name joined Navy in April 1907 going A.W.O.L. In Sept. 1907. Found in Crawfordsville, Ind. he was arrested in 1913 using name Charles Miller with another alias of Sam Green having been used. The Navy no longer wanted him so between then & 1918 he changed to Murphy & met our late-grandmother in Tacoma, Wa. marrying her in Seattle on 12/18/1918.
      He was 5’11”. 160 lbs. Brown hair Blue eyes.

  44. My three times Great Uncle John Ryall died as the results of wounds received at Stones River and he is buried in an unmarked grave. His brother Thomas Lakeman Ryall migrated to Victoria Australia in 1854. John and Thomas were born in Dunterton Devon England. Thomas died by drowning in a river in 1856 leaving behind a widow and two children. Thomas descendants move to Western Australia and there are now hundreds of his descendants living there

  45. My gr.gr.gr grandfather was in the Michigan Infantry in earlier Murfreesboro battle. Mostly stationed at Nashville hospital headquarters. He was a quarter master. He was also a horseman, driver of oxen and Shires, and shoer and participated in the taking of the South’s prized stallions from the Memphis area along with somr former slave horseman and shoers and settled in Hanover New York the founding center of the Harness Racing industry using those stallions. Many black folk in Chatauqua today are descendants of them. Our family have been in the Harness horse world in some way for 150 yrs. Personnaly I like Tenn. Walkers. descended from those same stallions earlier. The horses, is the other story of the battles in Tennessee.

  46. In 1765 a newspaper called “Hartford Courant” was started in Hartford, Ct. before we were even a country
    In 2005 a book was published called; Complicity with the sub-title How the North Prolonged, Promoted & Progited from Slavery. This book was written by two females and one male who wrote & edited for the paper. The forward was done by a Black woman educator by the last name I believe to be Higginbotham.
    I highly suggest everyone interested in studying the buildup to the War should read this book. The writers had no axe to grind on either side & to me what they wrote was a real eye opener.

  47. always enjoy reading about little known events that took place during the civil war. these events always hinged on the larger more well known events. i’m always amazed at the carnage of these human souls. may they rest in peace.

    • Whether you believe in one cause or the other, the Civil War was a tragedy that could have been avoided.
      600,000 Americans died during that conflict and there are people tracing their ancestry back to that time and before.
      The stories that have come to light and the possibilities of finding that you had ancestors on both sides is very revealing about the mixing bowl that was America.
      If you are searching for the past, happy hunting. If you are using the past to avoid another similar event in the future, you are wise.
      If you believe in the United States and her Constitution, Thank you!
      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  48. Eddie McClanahan,
    There’s your people from VA and my folks who started in S.Carolina @1773.
    John McC & family came over from N. Ireland, fought REV. war at Cowpens as sharpshooter, was killed. His son was my 4th gr. grand father.
    The Va people and us have to be connected somehow. I always wanted to know.
    My middle name came from, I think, Sam. Preston Moore, the Surgeon Gen. of Confederacy, who probably cared for gr. Gr.Father E.B. McC. We can investigate by Email best. P.McC.

    • Preston
      You are correct there is no close connection to your line of McClanahans and mine. perhaps there may be a connection on the other side of the ocean but probably goes way back. No mater which line we descend from the McClanahans they are well respected bunch to be proud of. No matter what side they fought on they fought for what they believed was right. I’m proud f my McClanahans as I know you are proud of yours.

  49. Most of my mother’s family lived in the area of Murfreesboro during this time. I cannot imagine scary it must have been. When my uncle did their family tree years ago, I couldn’t help but notice how many “old maids” there were. In retrospect, many potential husbands were killed during the Civil War, some of whom were probably conscripted.

  50. To Wm Shaw post on Dec 8th 2018, I believe we might be related. Did he marry a Ballard? I have a Jarvis Hayden as a direct ancestor. E mail me at valerie_alder@yahoo.com Thanks