Battle of Stones River: The Widow Burris House

2004 Stones River National Battlefield, Historic Resource Study

The Widow Burris House is located on Asbury Lane, a rural road that intersects the Nashville Pike.

During the 1860s, Asbury Lane was an unpaved dirt road providing access for a few farms to the Nashville Pike. Census records indicate that in 1860, this house and the farm was the home of the widow Mrs. Eliza Burris, three adolescent children, and two other small children, probably grandchildren.

This structure, which is still extant, is notable not only because it served as a field hospital, but also because it was the scene of a desperate and successful Union repulse of Confederate troops advancing towards the Nashville Pike and the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad on December 31,

Late in the morning of December 31, 1862, Confederate troops broke through Union lines near the Nashville Pike close to the Widow Burris’s
house. General Rosecrans himself rallied the Union troops to plug this hole in their lines and repel the Confederates. Alexander F. Stevenson, a Union
veteran who composed a history of the Battle of Stones River in the 1880s, offered a detailed description of this part of the battle. He related that
Confederate officer, “Liddell says, that he went for a few minutes into
a Federal hospital (Widow Burroughs’s house), near the little dirt road, being called for protection, and, in an incredibly short time, he found his line breaking rapidly to the rear, that he galloped quickly to head off the stragglers. On halting he found them to be Johnson’s men. Riding to the
right he met General Johnson looking for his men. Johnson then informed Liddell that his brigade was not far distant, in the neck of the woods. It is evident that these rebel brigades must have been utterly demoralized, and, if Col. Bradley’s attack had been followed up at once, the fortunes of that day would have been changed.

The Widow Burris House is a two-story frame house with a front porch carried on two boxed posts. Private individuals currently own this property, and the 1999 GMP does not include this site in the proposed authorized boundary.

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