Stones River National Battlefield Park

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3501 Old Nashville Highway
Murfreesboro TN 37129
(615) 893-9501

A fierce battle took place at Stones River between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. General Bragg's Confederates withdrew after the battle, allowing General Rosecrans and the Union army to control middle Tennesee. Although the battle was tactically indecisive, it provided a much-needed boost to the North after the defeat at Fredericksburg. Lincoln later wrote to General Rosecrans, "I can never forget [...] you gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over."

The 450-acre National Battlefield includes Stones River National Cemetery, established in 1865, with more than 6,000 Union graves; and the Hazen Monument, believed to be the oldest Civil War monument. Portions of Fortress Rosecrans, a large earthen fort constructed after the battle, still stand and are preserved and interpreted by the National Park Service. Much of the nearly 4,000-acre battlefield is in private hands.

Visitation:
Highest in July; lowest in January and February.

Operating Hours, Seasons:
Daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., all year; closed December 25

Climate, Recommended Clothing:
Summer is hot and humid with highs in the 90s. Spring and fall pleasant. Winter temperatures are variable, but temperatures may drop below freezing with occasional snow.

Fees, Costs, Rates:
Free admission. Donations accepted at visitor center or by mail.

Reservations, Permits:
Reservations for school groups and bus tours are recommended as far in advance as practical. March, April, and May are the busiest months for group visits.

Basic Visit Recommendations:
Allow two to four hours for a visit to both the Battlefield and Fortress Rosecrans. If you wish to tour the battle sites outside the park boundary, allow more time.

Accessibility:
The visitor center information facilities are accessible to visitors who use wheelchairs or have sight or hearing impairments. A captioned version of the slide program and an audio tape tour of the battlefield are available upon request. Restrooms are accessible. Information about paved trails is available at the information desk. Sixty percent of the historic features can be viewed from a motor vehicle.

Vistitor Opportunities

Visitor Center, Exhibits:
Visitor center contains a small museum and slide program about the battle, along with a cooperating association bookstore.

Trails, Roads:
The battlefield may be toured by car or foot along a loop tour road. The tour continues to several sites along city and county roads. There are short foot trails at several of the tour stops.

Programs, Activities:
During summer months ranger walks and talks are presented daily. On summer, and occasional spring and fall weekends, living history programs are presented.

Lodging, Camping:
None in the park. Lodging may be found in Murfreesboro and camping is available at nearby state and private campgrounds.

Food, Supplies:
Local restaurants and stores.

Special Needs:
Bus parking is available at the visitor center.

Recommended Activities, Park Use:
Start your visit at the visitor center. The slide show and museum will help you understand the story of the battle. Obtain a park folder with a tour map and an optional audio tape tour at the visitor center. Tour the battlefield by car or foot. Fortress Rosecrans may be seen along a paved trail.

Special Events, Programs:
Ranger programs and living history presentations are offered on the anniversary of the battle. An artillery encampment featuring cannon firing by several guns is held on a weekend in July each year. For dates and times of programs, call or write the park.

This park is featured in a lesson plan created by Teaching with Historic Places, a program of the National Park Service that helps teachers and students understand how parks and other historic places embody America's historical experiences and cultural expressions.

Visitor Impacts:
To preserve earthworks, please stay on trails. Relic hunting is prohibited.

Adjacent Visitor Attractions: Oaklands Historic House Museum, an antebellum mansion, is near downtown Murfreesboro. The Rutherford County Courthouse was a prominent landmark during the Civil War. The Sam Davis Home in Smyrna was the home of a Confederate spy who was executed during the Civil War.

Directions

From I-24 take exit 78B. Follow Highway 96 to the intersection with U.S. Highway 41/70. Turn left and take Hwy 41/70 north to Thompson Lane. Turn left on Thompson Lane. Exit to Old Nashville Highway and follow signs to visitor center.

To Park: I-24 passes through Murfreesboro. I-65 and I-40 are within 30 miles. Nashville is served by a commercial airport which is within 30 miles of the Battlefield.

In Park: personal vehicle, bicycle, foot.




Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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