Shortly after the Battle of Stones River, the men of the Army of the Cumberland began building a massive fortification known as Fortress Rosecrans. Named after General William S. Rosecrans, it was the largest earthen fortification of its kind built during the Civil War.
Brig. Gen. James St. Clair Morton designed the earthworks of Fortress Rosecrans. It covered more than 200 acres and protected supply warehouses and the railroad. Union engineers designed the fortress to hold up to 10,000 troops. The supply depot inside stored enough food, equipment, and ammunition to supply an army of 65,000 men for up to 90 days. It played a vital role during the campaigns to drive the Confederates from middle Tennessee and seize the vital railroad junction at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This fortress was a powerful deterrent and never came under attack. The defenses included nine perimeter lunettes bristling with cannons, curtain walls to cover the spaces between the lunettes, and four interior fortifications called redoubts that could serve as a last line of defense.
Today, only fragments of the fortress survive. Stones River National Battlefield preserves Lunettes Palmer and Thomas, Curtain Wall No. 2, and Redoubt Brannan. Visitors can also see remnants Curtain Wall No. 1 on City of Murfreesboro property along the Lytle Creek Greenway.
The National Park Service maintains these earthworks with native grasses to prevent erosion and stabilize the earthworks. Please help preserve Fortress Rosecrans by staying on the paved trail and boardwalks.