National Register of Historic Places – Stones River National Battlefield

August 4, 2018, National Register of Historic Places

The ‘National Register’ is a phenomenal source of information regarding historic homes.  Search their database and you will find 49 properties as of August 4, 2018.

The following ‘Register’ entry is dated July 7, 1977:

Stones River National Battlefield, established by an act of Congress in 1927, was the scene of the Battle of Stones River, December 31, 1862 through January 2, 1863. The Union forces, commanded by General William S. Rosecrans, met the Confederate forces, under General Braxton Bragg, and engaged in one of the bloodiest battles fought west of the Appalachians during the Civil War.  Twenty-three thousand casualties were inflicted upon the two armies during the three day battle.  Stones River National Battlefield is located in Rutherford County, Tennessee, three miles N.W. of Murfreesboro and 30 miles S.E. of Nashville, Rutherford County is the center of a physiographic region known as the Central Basin of Tennessee.  The Central Basin has level to gently rolling topography and is characterized by outcroppings of Ordivician age limestone, caves, sinks, and underground drainage.  The basin is ringed with a circular belt of hills known as the Highland Rim.

Stones River Battlefield is characteristic of much of the Central Basin in that it has limestone outcroppings and “Cedar Glades”.  Cedar Glades are natural open areas on nearly barren,’ flat rock surrounded by eastern red cedar (Juniperus Virginiana L.) and numerous other hardwoods.  The dense cedar thickets and the rock outcroppings played a vital role in the battle in that they offered natural protection to troops, but by the same token made it nearly impossible to move equipment or cannon.

Although in 1927, numerous small houses and farms were located on what is now Stones River National Battlefield, the area has been returned to and maintained much as it was during the battle.  Within Stones River National Battlefield District, there are six historic structures and there are four additional structures outside the Battlefield proper.

1. Stones River National Cemetery
Enclosed by a stone wall, the cemetery is bordered by the Old Nashville Pike on the southwest and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad on the northeast.  The Cemetery Union dead from the Battle of Stones River, as well as battles and skirmishes south and east of Murfreesboro as far as 85 miles, were reinterred from their battlefield graves into the National Cemetery. Civil War dead total 6,124 of which 2,307 are unknown.  The known dead are marked with 10x12x4 white marble headstones, while a 6 x 6 x 4 marble stone marks the graves of the unknown dead.  Fallen soldiers from the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, Korean conflict and Vietnam action are also buried in the cemetery.  Total numbers of graves presently in the National Cemetery are 6,920.  The cemetery was closed
January 31, 1974, for other than reserved burials.

Although the cemetery is often thought of as a separate entity, it was consolidated with Stones River National Battlefield by an Act of Congress in 1927 and is administered by the National Park Service.

2. U.S. Regulars Monument

An interesting feature of the cemetery is the United States Regulars Monument erected in 1882, the 14 foot cylindrical concrete shaft standing on a 93 1/2 fit square concrete base was capped by a 300lb. bronze eagle, which was stolen in 1967.  The monument was erected by survivors of the Regular Brigade, Army, of the Cumberland in memory of the 15th, 16th, 18th, and 19th U.S. Infantry and Battery H, 5th U.S. Artillery, who were killed or died of wounds received at the Battle of Stones River.

3. Hazen’s Brigade Monument

A 10 foot high and 10 foot square frustrum-shaped monument constructed of native limestone blocks.  It was erected in 1863 by men of the 9th Indiana Veteran Volunteers, who were under the command of Col. W.B. Hazen, in memory of the members of the brigade that fell during the Battle of Stones River.  Hazen’s Brigade was the only Union unit that held its ground and never retreated under the heavy Confederate attack on December 31, 1862.

The monument is surrounded by the graves of fifty-five members of the brigade.  The graves and monument are enclosed with a 100′ x 30” limestone rock wall.  The monument is probably one of the oldest existing Civil War Monuments. (Weathering has made the inscriptions nearly illegible.)

4. Van Cleve Lane

Also known as Old Bowen Lane, the road runs north-south near the eastern boundary of the park for .9 of a mile.  During the Battle of Stones River, cannon, equipment, and troops were constantly moved on the dirt lane.  The Confederate attack on the morning of December 31, 1862, moved across the lane in an east-west direction.  After the battle, Old Bowen Lane was renamed in honor of General H.P. Van Cleve, Commander of the 3rd Division,
Army of the Cumberland, who was wounded during the battle.  The lane was graveled in 1929, and later was topped with asphalt.  At present, the asphalt lane follows its original course and nearly one mile of the lane is incorporated into the park road system from its southern beginning at Manson Pike to the N.C. & St. Louis Railway Crossing to the North.

5.Old Nashville Highway

This road traverses the park in as east-west direction for .6 of a mile between the visitor center and the National Cemetery. At present it is a county secondary, two-lane, asphalt road that has been paved and the road bed raised in low spots since 1929.

At the time of the battle it was a toll dirt road and served as the route of march of the Federal left under Major General Thomas L. Crittenden.  By noon of December 31, 1862, the Nashville Pike remained the only supply line open to General Rosecrans.  The successful Federal defense of this road was a deciding factor in the Federal victory gained on January 2, 1863.

6. Forty-Third Wisconsin and 180th Ohio Monument

This monument of native Rutherford County limestone is placed in the central section of Section E of Stones River National Cemetery.  It faces north towards the railroad by the north wall of the cemetery.  Its shape resembles a tombstone and is often mistaken for one.  It stands 41.5″ above the ground and measures 22.5″ wide by 14″ deep.  It bears the inscription: “Erected by the 43rd Reg’t. Wis. Vol. Inf. in memory of deceased soldiers in the Reg’t. and of the 180th Ohio.  Tennessee Union Soldiers Railroad Employees and Co., 1865.”  The monument is one of the oldest Civil War monuments in the nation.

7. The Artillery Monument

The Artillery Monument is dominated by a white painted 34′ high, concrete, obelisk shaped monument, bearing a bronze tablet commemorating the Confederate repulse by Union Artillery at this site on January 2, 1863.  The monument was erected by the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad in July of 1906.  The monument and a small one acre lot were donated to the Government by the Railroad in 1928, additional land was purchased in 1963 and a small asphalt 15 car parking lot built on the crest of the bluff to the northwest of the monument.  The  approximate site of the Union battery position is marked by 5 reproduction 12 pdr. Napoleon and iron display carriages.  The west fork of Stones River forms the Eastern boundary, the old road trace of Bowen Lane and McFadden’s Ford comprise the southern boundary and the north and west boundaries lie along a barbed wire
fence separating the lot from the Smith Farm.  This repulse marked the last engagement at the Battle of Stones River.

The site also marks the site of one of the major river crossings used by the Union Army during the battle.

8 . Redoubt Brannon

Redoubt Brannon was the largest of four redoubts of Fortress Rosecrans, and now is the best preserved.  This redoubt was rectangular in shape and approximately 200 feet by 150 feet with earthen walls 20 feet high.  A cross shaped earthen magazine was located in its center (now collapsed).  The redoubt contained positions for six guns, four
positions for heavy ordinance and two for light field guns.  The redoubt faces the west fork of Stones River with Old Nashville Pike on its northeast wall and the Louisville and Nashville railroad outside the west wall.  According to an 1866 sketch made by Benson J. Lossing there were two frame structures outside the west wall on the bluff above the
river.  There is no visible trace of these structures now.  The entire redoubt and surrounding acreage is now within the City of Murfreesboro limits and is overgrown with thick, almost impenetrable vegetation.  At present the site is not maintained by the National Park Service.

The Fortress was built as a direct result of the Battle of Stones River in order to maintain a base of supply for the assault on Chattanooga and Sherman’s march to the sea.

It remained in Union hands throughout the War and insured Union control of Middle Tennessee through an excellent base of supply.

9. Bragg’s Reservation

This small site is located one and five tenths of a mile southeast of Stones River National Battlefield just north of Old Nashville Highway and railroad underpass. The site is surrounded by a chain link fence on three sides and dominated by a small pyramidal pile of 12 pdr. shells marking the headquarters site.  There is a small five car asphalt
parking lot on the south (entrance side) of the lot.

This area was the Commanding General of the Confederate forces, General Braxton Bragg’s second headquarters site (Jan. 1-3, 1863) during the Battle of Stones River.

There may have been a log structure on the site during the battle.  No trace now exists.

10. Rosecrans’ Headquarters

This small site is located one half mile west of Stones River National Battlefield on the south side of Old Nashville Highway.  The site is enclosed on three sides by a chain link fence and a small pyramidal pile of 12 pdr. shells mark the headquarters site.

The lot is fronted by an asphalt five car parking lot.  The site marks the tent headquarters of Major General William S. Rosecrans, Commanding General, U.S.A.  Forces during the Battle of Stones River – December 30, 1862 to January 3, 1863.

The site is seriously intruded upon by a stone quarry that runs up to the fence on two sides of the lot.  Visitors are exposed to a safety hazard of falling rocks when blasting operations are in progress in the quarry.  Rocks are frequently thrown into the site by blasting.




Stones River National Battlefield is historically the site on which the Union Army of the Cumberland, under General William S. Rosecrans met the Army of the Tennessee commanded by General Braxton Bragg. On December 30, 1862, the Union forces massed west of Murfreesboro and planned their attack on the city.  The Confederate forces were prepared on the morning of December 31, 1862; they surprised the Union forces with a heavy attack at the southern end of the Union line.  The Union line was thrown back to the Nashville Pike.

The battle raged for three days and the Union forces held their ground and the Rebel forces retreated southward.  The bloody battle cost both armies 23,000 casualties and was recorded as the bloodiest battle fought west of the Appalachians during the Civil War.  The Battle was the beginning of the Union drive to cut the Confederacy in half.  Although the battle was fought over a 3700-acre area, Stones River is comprised of the 351 acres of ground where the
hardest fighting occurred and where Stones River National Cemetery was established in 1865 and Hazen’s Monument was erected in 1863.

The National Cemetery contains the bodies of all Union soldiers known and unknown that were found in and around the battlefield.  It also contains Union dead from battles such as Franklin, Spring Hill and small skirmishes along the Nashville and Decatur Railroad.

Today the cemetery is the final resting place for soldiers of all wars since the Civil War.  Erected in 1863 the Hazen Brigade Monument may be the oldest Civil War Monument.  It honors not only those members of the brigade that died at Stones River, but also those who fell at Shiloh in 1862 and Chickamauga-Chattanooga in the fall of 1863.


Comments are closed.