Stones River, Tennessee, was the site of one of the most decisive and deadly battles of the Civil War. Here, on New Year’s Eve 1862, the Union armies under Major General William Rosecrans avenged their defeat two weeks earlier at Fredericksburg.
After three days of intense fighting, Confederate troops were permanently forced out of Middle Tennessee. General Rosecrans won the fertile fields he needed to sustain the Union Army, while President Abraham Lincoln claimed the strategic and moral victory he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Those victories came at a significant cost. Casualties claimed nearly a third of the 81,000 troops on both sides. More than 3,000 men lost their lives at Stones River. Another 16,000 lay wounded for days, waiting for help to arrive.
Today, you can ponder Civil War military strategy as you stroll the rolling green hills and cedar glades of Stones River National Battlefield. Seven miles of trails wind through the park. See the earthen boundaries of Fortress Rosecrans, built to protect Union storehouses. Wander between the graves of the Stones River National Cemetery, final resting place of more than 7,100 Union soldiers, veterans, and family.
According to an assessment by the Center for State of the Parks, the civil war parks of Tennessee face several common challenges. Primary among them are funding shortfalls that limit the Park Service's ability to preserve historic sites and tell the stories of our American heritage.
Also of critical concern at all four parks covered in the report is adjacent development that mars historical and scenic views that are essential to bring the story to life and providing visitors with a memorable experience. Read more about the threats faced by these parks in NPCA's report Tennessee's Civil War National Parks.