• Painting of Union cannons firing

    Stones River

    National Battlefield Tennessee

Trading Cards

Kids! Collect stories about the Civil War and civil rights! The National Park Service is offering more than 500 trading cards to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Visit a park in person to earn a card (sorry, cards cannot be mailed). Ask a ranger or stop by the visitor center at a participating park. You can view all the cards online and discover stories from nearly 90 national parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia. You'll be surprised at what you will learn.

 
The Hazen Brigade Monument

Ambrose Bierce

Writing Stories About War

This soldier/writer fought in Hazen's Brigade, stopping four Confederate attacks at Hell's Half Acre on December 31, 1862. The men then built a monument on the site of their valiant stand. Bierce used this oldest intact Civil War monument as the backdrop for one of his stories, "A Resumed Identity" to tell people about the horrors of war.

 
Henry Hall's Kentucky State Guard Coat

A Bad End for a Good Boy

Private Henry Hall traded his militia coat in for a Confederate uniform as he headed south with the Fourth Kentucky Infantry, CSA. Sadly, he died on January 2, 1863. His coat and a letter to Henry's mother describing him as, "A good boy and a good soldier," are on display in the park museum

 
Historic drawing of freed slaves and President Abraham Lincoln.

Forever Free

Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, the opposing armies outside Murfreesboro spent the day reorganizing and tending to the dead and wounded. The same day, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The Union victory at Stones River supported the proclamation and changed the war into a conflict not just to preserve the Union, but also to end slavery.

 
Historic photo of soldiers in Fortress Rosecrans

Fortress Rosecrans

Defense and Occupation

This rare photograph shows men and cannons that defended Fortress Rosecrans. The earthen walls of the fort stretched three miles and protected a supply center crucial to the Union army's drive to Chattanooga. For the people of Murfreesboro, Fortress Rosecrans loomed as a grim reminder that the Union army controlled their town.

 
Photo of an African American family in front of a cabin.

Living Free

The Cemetery Community

After the war, African Americans built their own thriving and prosperous community centered on the Stones River National Cemetery. The community was fittingly named "Cemetery" and included farms, homes, churches, and a school. Some of the people living there were veterans of the 111th United States Colored Infantry and their families.

 
Regular Brigade Monument in Stones River National Cemetery

Victory at Great Cost

The Regular Brigade

On December 31, 1862, Union soldiers of the Regular Brigade plunged into the woods to plug a hole in the line of soldiers at Stones River. They lost nearly half their men in less than an hour but held long enough to help the Union Army gain a victory. This monument honors their brave sacrifice.

 
Headstone of William Holland

William Holland

From Property to Property Owner

Holland's transition from slave to citizen represents one of the most important results of the Civil War. Born enslaved, he escaped to become a laborer and then a soldier in the 111th US Colored Infantry. After the war, Holland worked in Stones River National Cemetery and bought a small farm, where he and his grandson are buried.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Brig. Gen. Joeseph Palmer, who commanded a Confederate brigade during the Battle of Stones River, had been the mayor of Murfreesboro prior to the outbreak of war. More...