“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Bragg's Headquarters

Fateful Decisions at Stones River


—Battle of Stones River —

Bragg's Headquarters Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
1. Bragg's Headquarters Marker
Inscription. (Preface): Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans led the Army of the Cumberland from Nashville toward Murfreesboro in December 1862, while Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg and the Army of the Tennessee occupied the town to protect the approaches to Chattanooga. The armies clashed on December 31, and a flank attack almost swept the Federals from the field. Rosecrans fended off attacks on January 2 and prepared to take the offensive. Bragg, his army exhausted, evacuated Murfreesboro the next day. There were 81,000 soldiers engaged - one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg was troubled as he watched the tents go up here at his new headquarters on January 1, 1863. Before moving his headquarters to this place, he had telegraphed Richmond the previous evening and declared, "God has granted us a happy New Year." He had expected the Union army to be retreating by now. Instead, the Federals were digging trenches and preparing to renew the fight. That night, thousands of Union soldiers - a division under Col. Samuel Beatty - crossed Stones River north of here and positioned themselves on a high hill.

The next day, Bragg called Gen. John C. Breckinridge here and ordered him to push the Federals off the hill. Breckinridge argued against the attack, knowing that his men would be exposed the to fire of
Breckinridge's Attack Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
2. Breckinridge's Attack Map
more than fifty Union cannons on a ridge across the river behind Beatty's position. Bragg refused to change the order. He knew that his only chance to get the victory he had already claimed was to keep Union cannon off Beatty's hill.

Although Breckinridge attacked and successfully pushed Beatty back, the Union guns cut the Confederates up badly. The result was a bloody defeat that left more than 1,900 Confederate soldiers laying dead or wounded along the banks of the river. Bragg's subordinates finally persuaded him that the battle was over, and he withdrew from Murfreesboro toward Shelbyville on January 3, 1863.

"General Preston, this attack is made against my judgment and by the special orders of General Bragg. Of course we all must try to do our duty and fight the best we can. But if it should result in disaster and I be among the slain, I want you to do justice to my memory and tell the people that I believed this attack to be very unwise and tried to prevent it." - Gen. John C. Breckinridge.
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 52.174′ N, 86° 25.185′ W. Marker is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in Rutherford
Wing Map Showing Other Civil War Sites image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
3. Wing Map Showing Other Civil War Sites
County. Marker is on West College Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the General Bragg Trailhead of the Greenway Trail Park System. Marker is in this post office area: Murfreesboro TN 37129, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Headquarters (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battle at Stones River (about 400 feet away); Stones River (about 800 feet away); Murfreesboro (approx. 0.3 miles away); Chalmers’ Brigade at Murfreesboro (approx. 0.4 miles away); Donelson’s Brigade at Murfreesboro (approx. 0.4 miles away); Army of the Cumberland (approx. half a mile away); Slave, Soldier, Citizen (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Murfreesboro.
Also see . . .  Stones River. Resource page on the battle with official reports and other accounts. (Submitted on November 6, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Signs and Marker at the Bragg Trailhead image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 28, 2010
4. Signs and Marker at the Bragg Trailhead
The Stones River Greenway Trail follows the river through Murfreesboro.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 659 times since then and 69 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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