TwHP Lessons

The Battle of Stones River:
The Soldiers' Story

[Cover photo] The Artillery Monument, Stones River National Battlefield.
(Stones River National Battlefield)


f a soldier ever saw lightning, and heard the thunder bolts of a tornado at the same time the heavens opened and the stars of destruction were sweeping everything from the face of the earth, if he was in this charge, he saw it.¹

The bloody Civil War battle fought among the rocky cedar glades near the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, left an indelible imprint on the lives of many a soldier and his family. As one gazes across the narrow waters of Stones River today, it is difficult to imagine the carnage of a Civil War battle. The quiet waters no longer echo the sound of cannon fire or screams of death. The cold limestone and cedar thickets no longer resound with the sharp sound of 10,000 muskets delivering their deadly charges. But perhaps we can imagine soldiers struggling along what was once a cotton field, picking the harvest’s remains to stuff in their ears so that the din of battle might somehow seem more distant. For many, the quiet came too soon. The battle at Stones River claimed 23,000 casualties--it was the second bloodiest battle fought west of the Appalachians during the Civil War. The Stones River National Battlefield stands today as a silent reminder of those individuals who lost their lives there.

¹W. J. McMurray, M.D., History of the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment Volunteer Infantry C.S.A. (Nashville: The Publication Committee of the Regiment, 1904), 238.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Tennessee & surrounding states
 2. Nashville & middle Tennessee

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. The Soldiers and the Battle of Stones River
 2. Night on the Battlefield

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Battle of Stones River
 2. Hazen Brigade Monument
 3. Artifacts in the Hazen Monument

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Monument Inscriptions
 2. Working with Primary Sources
 3. Civil War Participation
 4. War Memorials in the Local Community

Supplementary Resources

How to Use a TwHP Lesson

Lessons on Related Topics

TwHP Home

National Register Home

About the National Register

How the National Register
Helps Teachers

Contact TwHP

Stones River National Battlefield

This lesson is based on Stones River National Battlefield, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



Comments or Questions
Privacy & Disclaimer
Site optimized for V4.0
& above browsers

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.