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Stones River National Battlefield site announces Civil War anniversary events


A living history artillery demonstration at Stones River National Battlefield site. SUBMITTED

The Stones River National Battlefield site will celebrate the 161st anniversary of the Battle of Stones River at the end of December with a weeklong schedule of events.

Rangers and volunteers will be available at the Murfreesboro site for programs about one of the more important battles of the Civil War. All events are free and open to the public.

TUESDAY, DEC. 26, THROUGH FRIDAY, DEC. 29

The Approaching Thunder, 11-11:30 a.m. A park ranger will recount the events of the Stones River Campaign. Location: Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 3050 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro.  An outdoor map will help illustrate the Stones River Campaign.

Stones River Stories, 1-1:30 p.m. Rangers will tell tales of a soldier or unit that fought at Stones River. Location: Field adjacent to the park’s Visitor Center.

Battlefield Tour, 2-3:30 p.m. Follow a ranger or volunteer guide in your car for a tour of the battlefield. The group will make several stops at key battle locations, and the leader will tell the tale of one of the more important Union victories of the Civil War. Location: Tours will begin at the visitor center and last 90 minutes.

SATURDAY, DEC. 30

Living History Event: The Eve of Battle, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Battle of Stones River began early on Dec. 31, 1862, but that was not the case for the soldiers on the southern end of the battlefield where intense fighting raged throughout Dec. 30, 1862, as the U.S. Army of the Cumberland’s Right Wing pushed its way into position. Location: next to visitor center. 

Program schedule: 10 a.m. – Confederate Infantry Demonstration; 10:30 a.m. – Union Artillery Demonstration; 11 a.m. – Union Infantry Demonstration; 1 p.m. – Confederate Infantry Demonstration; 1:30 p.m. – Union Artillery Demonstration; 2 p.m. – Union Infantry Demonstration; 2:30 p.m. – Confederate Infantry Demonstration; 3 p.m. – Union Artillery Demonstration; 3:30 p.m. – Union Infantry Demonstration.

SUNDAY, DEC. 31

Living History Event, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Living historians present programs featuring cannons and muskets firing and explore some of the key moments of the Union victory. Location: All Dec. 31 programs will take place in the fields adjacent to the park visitor center.

Program schedule: 10 a.m. – Routing the Union Right Wing;11 a.m. – The Slaughter Pen;1 p.m. – Hell’s Half Acre;2 p.m. – The Line That Wouldn’t Break. 

MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2024:

The Emancipation Proclamation’s 161st Anniversary, 11 a.m.-3:15 p.m. Location: meet at Visitor Center. Spend the day exploring the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on the war, its outcome, and the effects on our society today.

Program schedule:

11 a.m. – Forever Free – Participate in a 30-minute discussion of the words, meaning and impact of the Emancipation Proclamation; 1 p.m. – Rising From the Ashes – Walk through the heart of the battlefield where formerly enslaved people created a community named Cemetery following the Civil War; 2:30 p.m. – Fighting for Freedom – A talk in Stones River National Cemetery teaches about the role of Black soldiers in Middle Tennessee.

TUESDAY, JAN. 2, 2024:

Living History Event: The Very Forest Seemed to Fall, 1-4:30 p.m. Location: McFadden Farm Site, 2600 Van Cleve Lane, Murfreesboro. The Battle of Stones River came to a bloody end on Jan. 2, 1863, with a final Confederate assault that was repulsed by massed Union artillery and infantry along the banks of the Stones River.

Program schedule: Union artillery demonstrations every hour starting at 1 p.m. and ending with the 4 p.m. demonstration. Includes ranger talks about soldier accounts of the fighting.