Let's talk a little about the "South" in the war between the States, needless to say, I am a dyed in the wool "Rebel", my ancestor's fought for the South, and died for the South. I am an American by Birth & A Rebel by the Grace of God! I fly the color's every day of my life and will continue to as long as there is breath in my body, My "X" stand's for the thing's I believe in, Honor/Courage. And "yes" I still help little old lady's across the street, and hold door's open."

One of the battle's that happened within 15 miles of my home is the "SeeSaw Battle of Stone's River", and I'll give you some history on that one.
( This account is quiet lengthy, so be patient)

A True account taken from, "The Battle of Stones River".
by Stanley F. Horn
   On DECEMBER 26, 1862 Major General William S. Rosecrans, with the army of the Cumberland, some 47,000 officers and men, launched an offensive southeast from Nashville, Tennessee. His immediate target was the Confederate Army of Tennessee which, under General Braxton Bragg, slightly less than 38,000 strong, was at Murfreesboro blocking the main road and rail routes to Chattanooga. The Union army took four days to march 25-30 miles, being retarded by rain, fog, and the effective delaying tactics of Wheeler's cavalry. In fact, the advance was virtually one continuous skirmish, in which the Union infantry was forced to deploy at every hill crest.

Their Cavalry was not so well handled, consequently Rosecrans was ignorant of his opponent's moves while Bragg was informed.

BY THE EVENING of December 30 the opposing forces were arrayed. It was obvious to both commanders that preparatory maneuvering was over and that the next day would be a day of Battle. The reports of the opposing commanding officers suggest that Rosecrans may have out-smarted himself in his preparations. Early in the evening of the 30th he sent orders to Major General Alexander McD. Mc Cook to have a large and extended campfires built on his right "to deceive the enemy, making him think we were massing troops there".

   This ruse had the desired effect. As Bragg reported: Late on Monday [December 29] it became apparent the enemy was extending his right, so as to flank us on the left. McCowns division, in reserve, was promptly thrown to the flank and added to the command of Lieutenant-General Polk..... Cleburne's division, Hardee's corps, was moved from second line on the right to the corresponding position on the left, and Lieutenant-General Hardee was ordered to that point and assigned to the company of that and McCowns division.  The disposition, the result of necessity, left me no reserve, but Breckinridge's command on the right, not now threatened, was regarded as a source of supply for any reinforcements absolutely necessary to other parts of the field." Thus McCook's fake campfires caused Bragg to accumulate on his left the overwhelming manpower that was to be an irresistible thunderbolt when it was launched on the morning of the 31st.

The battle plan's of General Bragg and General Rosecrans were basically identical
: an enveloping flanking movement against the enemy's right: but Bragg gained the ascendancy by moving first. He outlined his plan of action succiently in his report: General Hardee was ordered to assail the enemy at daylight on Wednesday, the 31st, the attack to be taken up by Lieutenant General Polk's command in succession to the right, on Polk's right flank, the move to be made by a constant wheel to the right, on Polk's right flank, as a pivot; the object being to force the enemy back on Stones River, and, if practicable, by the aid of Cavalry, cut him off from his base of operations and supplies by the Nashville Pike."

  AS THE CONFEDERATE infantrymen moved in the half-light of early morning against McCook's extreme right, about at the juncture of Grisham Lane with the Franklin road, the full force of their attack fell on the brigades of Kirk and Willich of Brigadier General Richard W. Johnson's division of that corps. Kirk's men were up and under arms, with a strong picket line in their front; but just about daylight some of the horses of their artillery were un-hitched and taken to water.  It was at this moment that the Yelling Confederates came swarming into them.
The resulting confusion was compounded when General Kirk was Mortally wounded in the first few minutes of the affray.  General Willich was not with his brigade, having gone to see General Johnson. His men were cooking and eating breakfast, their arm's stacked. The surprised Federal's fought gallantly, but, overmatched and confused, were forced to give ground.

When McCown's men had exhausted their original momentum, Cleburn moved up and continued the assault.  Meanwhile the front brigades of Polk's left were driving in on the right of Cleburne and McCown, and Wharton's cavalry had swung around the Federal right and slashed at their right and rear. One of the Federal commanders said they saw cavalry on their right, infantry assailing their left, and heavy masses rushing to the assault in the front. The threatened regiments were therefore directed to retire as the only escape from annihilation or capture.

Following the route of Johnson's division, the Confederates fell on Brigadier General Jefferson Davis' division, driving it back toward the Nashville Pike.  Davis' troops were able to delay the Confederates only long enough for Brigadier General Phillip H. Sheridan to prepare his men to receive the first shock of the "Rebel" attack. Sheridan's command, the left division of McCook's corps, received the first attack on terrain that was largely cultivated and thus had little cover. Nevertheless they threw off three successive attacks made by the brigades of Cheatham and Withers from Polk's left. Finally however, as Cleburne pressed in on Withers' left, Sheridan was overpowered by the envelopment and the enfolding artillery fire and was forced to give way toward the Nashville pike.  Rousseau's division had been sent to Sheridan's support, but there was no stopping the Fury of the Confederate drive. Rousseau was swept back, and even Sheridan was soon forced to withdraw.

As Sheridan commenced to fall back, Patton Anderson's brigade of Withers' division moved against the division of Major General Negley posted in a dense Cedar Glade on Thomas' right, near the Wilkinson pike. Federal artillery raked the cotton field across which Anderson's men had to advance, repulsing Anderson's first charge. But A.P.Stewart's brigade was brought up in support, and the Confederates charged again. The Federal's fell back, abandoning 11 cannons, most of which had belonged to Sheridan's division, and which had caused such havoc.
So determined and irresistible was the Confederate attack and follow-through that by 10 a.m. they had put Johnson's and Davis' divisions of McCook's corps to flight in a wide sweep of four or five miles to the Nashville pike. Sheridan's division was still fighting hard at this time. Indeed, Sheridan's troops were never put to flight. Although he lost three brigade commanders, Sheridan conducted a fighting withdrawal. By noon, however, Bragg's first objective had been attained: The Federal line was doubled back like a Jackknife blade, until it's right wing was at right angles to the original line of battle.
But the Confederates were not able to deliver the  knockout punch.
ROSECRANS, forced by events to change his original plans for a flank attack on the Confederate right, improvised a defense against the threatening disaster on his own right. Van Cleve's division had crossed Stones River in the early morning, as originally ordered, but before they could get their advance against Breckinridge organized they were called back across the river to resist the Rolling Confederate Drive. Along with Wood's division, numbering 9.000 men backed up by a  powerful array of artillery, they had quickly formed a formidable line along the Nashville pike, making a desperate stand to maintain communication with the rear.

The elated but physically exhausted Confederates, as they came surging out of the cedar Thickets in pursuit of the flying Federal's, were brought up short by the strong line od Crittenden's fresh divisions and it's supporting artillery. The fury of the Confederate attack diminished. As the Confederate drive against the Federal right began to slow down about 10 o'clock, Bragg called on Breckinridge to send, first one brigade and then two brigades to Polk's support. Breckinridge, however, had been the victim of some extraordinary inept scouting. When Van Cleve began to cross the river early in the morning, in accordance with Rosecran's original plan of battle. Breckinridge was informed of the movement. For some unexplained reason, however, his scouts did not observe the quick withdrawal of Van Cleve's men-or, at least, did not tell Breckinridge about it- and so left that the commander under attack from the front. He so informed Bragg in explaining his inability to reinforce Hardee. By the time Breckinridge became convinced that the threatened attack was imaginary, he decided that it then too late to help Hardees men, who had run up against the fresh Federal Line along the Nashville pike and had fallen back to the protection of the cedars.

THE NEW POSITION of the Federal line,as established late in the morning, created a sharp salient at the center, where at midmorning Rousseau's division of Thomas' left joined Palmer's division of Crittenden's right. Rousseau was withdrawing, leaving the defense of the salient to Crittenden's troops. In this salient, on a slight elevation on both sides of the railroad track just east of the Nashville pike, was a thick clump of trees covering about four acres. In and around this forest Rosecrans assembled every available brigade not already in action, and backed them up with artillery on high ground in rear of the infantry position.  The general area of this stronghold, referred to in the reports as the Round Forest, was maintained by Grose, Cruft, Hascall, Shaefer, Hazen, and Wagner against successive waves of furiously attacking Confederates through the rest of the day. The first Confederate assault on the Round Forest position was made by Chalmers' brigade, but Chalmers fell wounded as his men were mowed down by the Federal artillery and rifle fire.  General Donelson's Tennessee brigade, rushed up in support, split as it moved forward.

The 16th Tennessee, which drove against Round Forest, was checked before it reached the Union battle line. The 8th, 38th, and 51st Tennessee were temporarily successful, capturing 1000 prisoners and the 11 guns previously mentioned. But after they had attacked the cedar thickets south of round forest, a strong Federal counterattack drove them back to the cedars from which they had advanced. Two hours later Breckinridge's brigades began to come onto the field from across the river, in accordance with Bragg's orders, and Bragg threw them into action as they arrived. One by one the brigades of Adams and Jackson and Preston and Palmer were hurled against the Round Forest position, with a courage and abandon that won the admiration of the defenders- but the hail of fire drove them back after exacting terrific losses. At the  length the short winter twilight deepened to darkness, putting an end to the fighting - to the great relief of both exhausted and decimated armies.

THUS CLOSED the first day of a battle that was really two separate battles, two distinct engagements separated by a day of relative inactivity. In this first day's fighting, the Federals were driven from their positions on their right for a distance of four or five miles, and the Confederates held the field at close of the day. Both armies had suffered shocking losses, but the Confederates were justified in feeling that the day was theirs. With an impetuosity that he probably regretted later. Bragg exultantly telegraphed President Davis that he had won a great victory and "the enemy is falling back."

"GOD has granted us a happy New Year," Bragg exulted in his premature victory telegram, on the evening of December 31; but when the first day of the new year dawned a few hours later he began to suspect that it might not be so happy as he had predicted.
By pressing forward his skirmishers, he soon determined that the Federals, instead of retreating, were in a strong defensive position in the new line that they had established during the night and early morning. To strengthen his line, Rosecrans had withdrawn from his salient in the Round Forest, and Polk promptly moved up into this position- the bastion before which so many of his and Breckinridge's men had fruitlessly sacrificed their lives the previous day.

  DURING New Year's Day the Confederate cavalry, under Wheeler and Wharton, were busy in the Federal rear, hacking away at the wagon trains going to and from Nashville. A spirited attack was made on the stockade at LaVergne after the capture and dispersal of one of the Federal trains, and although this attack was beaten off, one of the Federal officers later wrote that " This conflict, the presence of the enemy's cavalry in heavy force on the communications of the army, attacking train guards and destroying wagons, and a multitude of frightened team-sters and demoralized soldiers straggling to the rear, produced the wildest confusion from Stewart's Creek to the vicinity of Nashville.  This excitement in the rear was in striking contrast with the comparative quietness reigning over the field, where each army was awaiting the action of the other."
Neither commander showed any disposition to renew the fight.  Rosecrans in his new and stronger position seemed satisfied with the respite from attack.  Bragg, disappointed in Rosecrans' failure to retreat, seemed at a loss what to do.  Breckinridge, with the brigades he had brought across the river as reinforcements the preceding afternoon,  was returned to his original position east of the river.  This move was countered by Rosecrans' ordering Crittenden to move Van Cleve's division (now commanded by Colonel Samuel Beatty) supported by Grose's brigade, across the river, where they formed a line of battle confronting Breckinridge.  But both sides seemed satisfied with the status quo.

  Bragg in his official report summed it up: "Our forces, greatly wearied and much reduced by heavy losses, were held ready to avail themselves of any change in the enemy's position, but it was deemed inadvisable to assail him as then established. The whole day... was passed without an important movement on either side, and was consumed by us in  gleaning the battle-field, burying the dead and replenishing ammunition."

FOR A WHILE on the morning of January 2 it seemed that the inaction might continue through another day,  although Bragg engaged in a brief exploratory artillery duel with Rosecrans on his center near the Round Forest, which had no other effect than to emphasize the fact that the Federals were still holding their ground.  Bragg was particularly impressed by the discovery that during the night, Beatty's division had occupied the ridge across the river in Breckinridge's front "from which Lieutenant General Polk's line was commanded and enfiladed." Bragg considered it " na evident necessity" that Beatty's force be dislodged or Polk be withdrawn from the  advanced position he now occupied. Accordingly he decided that Breckinridge must take the position from Beatty.
Breckinridge, when advised of Bragg's plan, was emphatic in objecting to it.  The movement was sure to be disastrous, he protested; the Federals holding the high ground west of the river completely commanded the ridge he was ordered to take, and they could rake it with their guns. Polk volunteered  the opinion that the position sought was not essential to his protection.  But Bragg was not moved by the protests of his subordinates; Breckinridge was ordered to proceed with the attack: "to drive the enemy back, crown the hill, entrench his artillery, and hold the position."

  Breckinridge's advance was scheduled to be launched at 4p.m. To distract the Federals' attention from the real object, a heavy fire was ordered to be opened from Polk's front at that exact hour, and this was done. Promptly at the appointed time Breckinridge moved forward with his 4,500 men, preceded by a heavy concentration of fire from his artillery, and soon swept Beatty from his position on the ridge.
MEANWHILE, General Crittenden, accompanied by his chief of artillery, Major John Mendenhall, while riding along the Nashville pike on the other side of the river had observed the movements of Breckinridge as he was forming to deliver his assault.  Crittenden ordered Mendenhall to assemble artillery, and in a  few minutes the artillery chief had massed 57 guns on the high west bank of McFadden's Ford, a bristling array that completely commanded the ground on the other side of the river.

Breckinridge's men not satisfied with taking their prescribed objective, pursued Beatty's fleeing men down the  slope toward the river, where they came directly within range of Mendenhall's massed artillery. Confederate after action reports indicate that small-arms fire delivered by the Union infantry posted on the west side of the river at McFadden's Ford caused as much confusion as the artillery projectiles. The over-all result was murderous, as the terrific artillery fire crashed into the pursuing Confederates, causing them to waiver and then turn back. Fresh Federal infantry poured across the river and joined in the pursuit of the survivors of Breckinridge's ill-fated charge. As darkness stopped the active fighting, Breckinridge was back in the position from which he had started, with the supposedly vital ridge still in the possession of the enemy, and with some 1,700 men left dead and wounded on the field.

  THE CONSEQUENCE of this disaster is succinctly told in General Bragg's report ot the battle: on Saturday morning the 3rd, our forces had been in line of  battle five days and nights, with but little rest, having no reserves, their baggage and tents had been loaded and the wagons were four miles off; their provisions, if cooked at all, were most improperly prepared with scanty means; the weather had been severe from cold and almost constant rain, and we had no change of clothing, and in many places could not have fires. The necessary consequence was the great exhaustion of officers and men, many having to be sent t o hospitals in the rear, and more still were beginning to struggle from their commands, an evil from which we had so far suffered but little. During the whole of this day the rain continued to fall with little intermission, and the rapid rise in Stones River indicated it would soon be unfordable.  Late Friday night I had received the captured papers of  Major-General McCook, commanding one corps d'armee'  of the enemy, showing their effective strength to have been very near, if not quiet,  70,000 men. Before noon, reports from Brigadier-General Wheeler satisfied me that the enemy, instead of retiring, was receiving reinforcements. Common prudence and the safety of my army, upon which even the safety of our cause depended, left no doubt in my mind as  to the necessity of my withdrawal from so unequal a contest. My orders were accordingly given about noon for the movement of the trains, and for the necessary preparations of troops...... The whole force, except the cavalry, was put into motion at 11 p.m. and the army retired in perfect order to it's position behind Duck River,  without receiving or giving a shot. Our cavalry held the position before Murfreesboro until Monday morning, the 5th, when it quietly retired, as ordered, to cover our front.

  IN HIS REPORT  General Bragg accepts full responsibility for the decision to retire from the field, virtually admitting defeat.  In truth, the idea that the enemy should retreat after the debacle on January 2 originated with his own subordinate commanders. Shaken by the staggering repulse suffered by Breckinridge, their own divisions decimated by losses, their confidence in Bragg at its lowest ebb, Generals Cheatham and Withers that night drew up and signed their names to an unusual document, a letter addressed to General Bragg expressing the view that "this army should be promptly put in retreat." Some of their men were demoralized, they said, and they feared "great disaster from the condition of things now existing" unless the army withdrew. The letter was forwarded to Bragg through their core commander, Polk, and Polk sent it to Bragg with an endorsement stating: "I very greatly fear  the consequences of another engagement ay this place on the ensuing day"; such an engagement, he said, "might be very disastrous." When this document reached Bragg at 2a.m., he immediately and emphatically rejected the proposal:"Say to the general we shall maintain our position at every hazard," and went back to bed. When Polk got this bellicose reply he took the matter up with Hardee, who said he thought Bragg's decision was "unwise in a high degree." But when next morning at 10 o'clock Bragg called polk and Hardee to his headquarters for a conference, they found him in a decidedly less belligerent mood. Rosecrans, he said, had 70.000 men and was receiving reinforcements.  On the whole, after thinking the matter over, he thought they had better retreat.  Polk and Hardee agreed, and preparations proceeded fir the withdrawal that night.

  Bragg, in speaking of the reinforcements received by Rosecrans during the night of the 2nd, was probably misled into magnifying the number of men that had been added to the Federal force.  The only reinforcements actually received that night were Spear' brigade of Tennesseans and the 85th regiment of Illinois Volunteers. The report of Bragg's scouts may have exaggerated the strength of these fresh units;  but to a great extent Bragg's impression that the enemy was receiving heavy reinforcements was probably due to an elaborate scheme of deception devised by Rosecrans.  The latter mentions this briefly in his report; one of his officers tells about it in more detail.

  GENERAL ROSECRANS in his report tersely summarizes the last days of the campaign:
Sunday morning, January 4, it was not deemed advisable to commence offensive movements, and news soon reached us that the enemy had fled from Murfreesbourough. Burial parties were sent out to bury the dead, and the cavalry was sent to reconnoiter.
Early Monday morning general Thomas advanced, driving the rear guard of Rebel cavalry before him six or seven miles toward Manchester.  McCook's and Crittenden's corps, following, took position in front of the town, occupying Murfreesbourough.
Rosecrans, having achieved success in his first big scale command, might well have been personally proud of his accomplishment. But Rosecrans was a pious man, and he closed the report in these words: " I say from conviction and as a public acknowledgment due to Almighty God, in closing this report,  Non nobis Domine! nono nobis sed nomini tuo gloriam. (Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give the glory.)

Confederates, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Gen., Braxton Bragg, 37.712 effectives.
Federals, ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, Maj. Gen. W.S. Rosecrans, 43.000 effectives.
Total casualties: 13.249 

This account of the Battle of Stones River, is but a small amount of History available through the State of Tennessee, archives and State library, you can reach the library on line and have access to all the history and photo's right here online, check it out.
The link to follow is : http:// www.tennessee-scv.org/scvtn.html.
Another link that you may want to check out is: http://www.dixienet.org  (it's super)
Also check this one out for info: http://www.scv.org

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