Tour Stop 1 - The Eve of Battle

A Civil War cannon sits in a brown grass field behind a snake rail fence.

NPS Photo

On December 30, 1862, the Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General William S. Rosecrans, arrived at Murfreesboro. Troops occupied this area along McFadden’s Lane (called Van Cleve Lane today). As night fell, soldiers struggled to sleep in the freezing mud without campfires, knowing a major battle was imminent. For thousands, that night would be their last.


 
A paved road is bordered by snake rail fence on both sides. Cannon silhouettes stand in a field to the right.

The Union army set its lines with its left lying on the Stones River, running south along McFadden's Lane. This line stretched for about three miles. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Braxton Bragg, held roughly parallel positions from a quarter to half mile to the east.

While the men in blue and gray tried to rest, the commanders planned the coming fight. Generals Rosecrans and Bragg ultimately came up with similar plans. Each aimed to attack their enemy's right flank and cut off their supply line and route of escape.

While the generals and their staffs planned, one of the most unique and emotional moments of the Battle of Stones River unfolded.

 
Learn more about the events leading up to the Battle of Stones River by watching this video made by our friends at the American Battlefield Trust.
 
A painting of Union soldiers sitting on the ground with a military band playing in the background.

Waiting Anxiously for Tomorrow's Fate

Read the wayside about the night before the battle.

 

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Last updated: July 23, 2022

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Murfreesboro , TN 37129

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