Stones River Memorial Trail*
*A Fort Donelson Memorial Trail, Reconnoitering Trail
*A Boy Scouts of America Approved Historical Trail
Download a printable version of the: Battle of Murfreesborough – Stones River Memorial Trail Instructions.
Download a printable: Battle of Murfreesborough – Stones River Memorial Trail Map.
Hiking Safety Procedures:
It is a MANDATORY Requirement that each group must have TWO High Visibility Vests (with reflective strips-preferred) Day-Glow Green or Orange in color while hiking on the trail. Your front and rear hiker MUST wear the vest while hiking on the trail. All hikers must be in single file line order while hiking on the trail. All Hikers must hike on the LEFT side on the road facing traffic. If there is very little or no room on the shoulder on the road, hike in the grass next to the shoulder and or a ditch. Review Chapter 8, “Hiking” in the Boy Scout Handbook. Each group should have a minimum of two adults hiking with the group.
Plaque, Marker and Tablet Identifications:
The Historical Plaques will have photographs, color maps or artist renditions on them.
The Tennessee Historical Markers are large square iron tablets, silver background with black lettering.
The Historical Tablets are small six sided square iron signs, white background with green lettering. They were placed here in the 1960s.
Each participant will need a print out of the Trail Instructions, a map and a credential sheet form along with a writing instrument.
Please BE RESPECTFUL at the Stones River National Battlefield. Your behavior and demeanor should be maintained with a high sense of respect.
DO NOT attempt to climb over any of the fences or barricades that surround certain sections of the national battlefield.
DO NOT climb on any of the masonry stone works, walls or cannon.
DO NOT sit, climb on or use as a table any of the historical plaques.
Please DO NOT litter.
Travel to and enter the Visitor Center parking lot of the Stones River National Battlefield, located on 3501 Old Nashville Hwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129. Each participant that correctly answers the questions will be eligible for a Battle of Murfreesborough, Stones River Reconnoitering Pin for the Fort Donelson Trail medal ribbon.
Outside near the front entrance on the left side of the Visitor’s Center, locate the Historical Plaque: “Why Fight Here?”
- What are the two main reasons this battle was fought in Murfreesboro?
Enter the Visitor Center and locate the museum. Enter the museum and locate on the left wall the section “Tearing Apart the Nation” regarding the Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854.
- How many states and territories were “Slave states or territories?
Locate the Plaque: “Breaking Away”. In June of 1861 Tennessee voted to secede from the United States.
- Out of the states that seceded what was Tennessee’s number in order of secession?
Locate the section “Keystone of the South”.
- From Nashville what did the Union army plan to use to defeat the Confederacy?
Behind you on the opposite wall, locate the Section: “Who Were They?”
- At this battle how many of the Confederates were Tennesseans?
On the opposite wall locate the section “New Technologies-1862” regarding the Telegraph and the quote from Major John Fitch, 1st Illinois Light Artillery.
- How many minutes does it take to send a message of twenty words?
Locate the Section: “The Stage is Set” “Anticipation”
- How many Confederates were camped in town on the night of December 30th?
Next enter the theater and watch the movie. As you exit the theater walk to your left and enter the section of the museum with the damaged cannon carriage. Locate the small plaque regarding the wounded Federal soldier, Ed Abbott, of the 4th Indiana Light Artillery, lying beside the cannon carriage.
- How many days did he lay on the battlefield wounded and unattended?
Directly behind you on the left locate the section of wall “December 31, 1862 Attack!” Confederate J. A. Templeton of the 10th Texas Calvary describes the speed and surprise in which the Confederates attacked the Union camps.
- What was one of the deceased Federal soldiers still holding in his hand?
Locate on the other side of the room the section of wall “A Happy New Year”.
- At this point of the battle on January 1st 1863 how many soldiers had been killed on both sides?
Locate the section “January 1, 1863 Bloody New Year” locate the quote from C.T. DeVellin, 17th Ohio Infantry.
- What type and what amount of rations were issued to them on the night of January 1, 1863?
Locate the section on the wall January 2, 1863 McFadden’s Ford.
- How many of Confederate General Breckenridge’s forces were killed or wounded in less than one hour?
Locate the section “The Days After”
- How many men on both sides of each army were lost during this battle?
Locate the section “The Wounded”
- What was the total number of killed, wounded or captured in the three days of battle?
- What were the Union casualties?
- What were the Confederate casualties?
Locate the section “The Dead”, locate the bayonet.
- After the battle what modifications did the soldiers make to their bayonets in order to assist in the burial details?
Locate the plaque “Hazen Brigade Monument” This monument was built in 1863, the Civil War would continue for another two more years.
- What is the unique distinction given to this monument?
Locate the items that were found in the Hazen monument during its restoration in 1985.
Locate the section “Remembering and Honoring” locate the bronze Confederate cannon.
- What was inscribed on the cannon after the battle?
Locate the Medal of Honor.
- How many Federal soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during this battle?
As you exit the museum turn right and exit out the rear doors. Locate the cannon. This cannon is a Napoleon 12 pounder. Read the inscription on the barrel face.
- What company manufactured this cannon?
Locate the Historical Plaque “God has granted us a Happy New Year!”
- How many soldiers on both sides did not answer their unit’s roll calls?
Follow the trail to your left and turn right to the paved pathway. Locate the plaque ‘The Charge Kept Coming, Coming Like the Sea”.
- After the first days battle at what road did the Federals halt their retreat and hold their ground?
Continue following the path and locate the plaque “Their Longest, Coldest New Year’s Eve.” Locate the quote from Silas Canfield, Captain, 21st Ohio Infantry, regarding what General Rosecrans had warned them.
- When the enemy sees a campfire at night how many men do they assume are gathered around it?
Exit to your left and turn right safely crossing the circular drive of the visitor center going toward the Oversized Vehicle Parking section. Follow the sidewalk until you reach a gravel pathway on your right. Turn right, follow the pathway, it will loop around in a circle. Locate the plaque “Digging In”
- Which Federal unit was tasked with building berms and trenches to fortify the Federal defenses?
Continue hiking to your right following the trail to the main park paved road. Locate the historical plaque “Stand Fast”. Some of the Pioneer Companies were short on ammunition.
- How many rounds did some of companies have per soldier?
Turn left and follow the paved pathway, take the right fork toward the three wood post vehicle barriers. Locate a parking area on your right. Turn right into the parking area and locate a trail in the woods. Turn right on the trail and locate a white Historical Tablet “The Fight for the Cedars”
- What three items caused the Union Soldiers to become confused during the battle on December 31, 1862?
Continue hiking to your left and locate the white Historical Tablet “A Natural Foe”
- Name the Federal General that stated that “the woods were almost impassable to infantry and artillery perfectly useless.”
Continue hiking to your left and loop back to the main paved pathway. Turn right and follow the paved path until you reach the Michigan Historical marker near the “Slaughter Pen”.
- In what year was this marker erected and how many Michigan soldiers lost their lives during this battle?
Continue hiking behind and southeast of the Michigan marker following the dirt pathway to the “Slaughter Pen”. Stay to the right of the trail. Locate the Historical Plaque “Boys, you must get out of here!..”
- How many hours did the four Federal regiments of Miller’s brigade of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania hold out before a retreat was called?
Continue hiking take the left fork in the trail and locate the Historical Plaque “Sheridan Saves the Day’’
- When in the morning of the first day’s battle did the Confederates attack the Federal lines?
Continue hiking to your left. When you reach the paved pathway, turn left and hike to the intersection of the main road. Turn left on the main road and follow the paved road north, passing the Michigan Marker on your left. Locate a parking lot on your right, beyond that is a small sign “Cotton Field” pointing to the left. Locate the dirt trail on your left with a sign “Trail Exhibit”. Turn left and locate the Historical Plaque “This Far, But No Farther”.
- How many miles had the Confederates pushed back half of the Federal army?
Hike back the way you came to the paved road. Turn left on the paved road, hiking north. Locate the Historical Plaque on your right “Turns the Tide” Locate the quote from Lieutenant Colonel James Williamson of the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles.
- How many yards in distance did men from his regiment reach towards the Federal guns?
Hike back the direction you came from the Cotton Field dirt trail, hiking south on the shoulder of the paved road. Locate a paved trail on the left side. Turn left and locate the Historical Plaque “Parson’s Batteries…”
- What type of cannon ammunition did Parson’s Batteries use against the advancing Confederates at 300 yards?
Locate one of the iron 3 inch ordinance pieces (cannon).
- On the barrel face locate the initials of the foundry manufacturer company.
Locate the Historical Plaque “Exploring the Promise of Freedom”.
- After the Civil War how many people were former slaves?
Locate the Historical Plaque “Waiting Anxiously for Tomorrow’s Fate”.
- On December 30th, the night before the battle, what song did bands from both sides play?
Turn left and hike on the shoulder of the paved road toward the Old Nashville Hwy. When you reach the Old Nashville Hwy, safely cross the road to the other side and turn right hiking southeast toward the Hazen Monument. Locate the small parking lot on your left of the Hazen Monument and locate a cannon on your right. Read the inscription on the top of the barrel toward the rear of the cannon.
- Identify the cannon.
Locate the Historical Plaque “Anchoring the Union Line”
- Which Federal Brigade was the only one to hold their ground on the first day of the battle?
Locate the Historical Plaque “Remembering Sacrifices-in Stone”
- How many months after the battle was the Hazen monument built?
Hike to the Hazen monument and enter through the gate. (Please remember that you are in a cemetery-please be respectful). Locate the Historical Tablet “Hazen’s Brigade”
- What are the names of the two battles that were inscribed on the monument at the close of the war?
Hiking to your left locate the tablet “The Blood of One Third…”
- How many Officers of Hazen’s Brigade were killed at Stones River on December 31st, 1862?
Hiking to your left locate the tablet “Erected 1863 Upon the Ground….’
- Which unit did Col. W. C. Whitaker serve in?
Hiking to your left locate the tablet “The Veterans of Shiloh…”
- How many officers from Hazen’s Brigade were killed at Shiloh on April 7th, 1862?
Exit the Hazen Monument and turn left and locate the Historical Plaque: “Slave, Soldier, Citizen”.
- What city, state, month and year was USCT William Holland captured during the war?
Hike back to Old Nashville Hwy and turn left. Locate the two Tennessee historical markers on the right side of the road. Safely Cross the road and locate the marker “Donelson’s Brigade at Murfreesboro”.
- How many Federal prisoners and cannon did this brigade capture on December 31st, 1862
Locate the Historical marker “Chalmers’ Brigade at Murfreesboro”.
- What obstructed Chalmers’ Brigade’s advance on the Federal’s round Forest position?
Safely cross Old Nashville Hwy, turn right traveling southeast on the sidewalk. Locate the paved Greenway trail. When you reach Garrison road, turn left on the Greenway trail- safely crossing the railroad track pedestrian crossing. There are restroom facilities and potable water available for public use. Near the playground and restrooms locate the Historical Plaque “Bragg’s Headquarters at the front entrance of the Stones River Greenway Trail. On the night of January 1, 1863 a division of Federal Soldiers crossed the Stones River and positioned themselves on a high hill.
- Who was the Colonel of that Federal Division?
Enter the Stones River Greenway trail and turn left. Follow the trail to the McFadden Farm of the battlefield. While hiking locate the Historical Plaque “The role of Railroads” on your left.
- What was the name of the connecting rail lines that both sides wanted to protect and control during the war?
Locate the next Historical Plaque “Women in the Civil War”.
- What was the name of the woman who served in the medical services during the war and who was later awarded the Medal of Honor for her work?
Locate the next Historical Plaque “Harker’s Crossing”
- What was the name of Federal Captain Milton Russell’s unit?
Continue hiking towards McFadden’s Farm, locate the historical plaque ”McFadden’s Ford”
- Where was the final action of this battle fought?
Continue hiking toward McFadden’s Farm locate the Historical plaque “My poor Orphans!”
- Which Confederate Troops were referred to as “orphans”.
Hike to the white obelisk Artillery Monument. Locate the bronze tablet on the monument.
- On January 2nd, 1863 how many cannon were stationed on this hill?
Beside the parking lot locate the Historical plaque “Remembering by Rail”.
- What was name of the section of town for the railway stop for the Battle of Stones River?
Continue hiking toward the paved turnaround area. Locate the Historical Plaque “The Very Forest Seemed to Fall”.
- How many lengths in the size of football fields did the Federal’s line of cannon stretch?
Hike back on the Stones River Greenway to the Hazen Monument on Old Nashville Hwy. Once at the Hazen monument hike to the left of the monument wall and locate a dirt trail to your left. Follow the trail through the “Round Forest”. The trail will exit at a closed paved road, Van Cleve Lane next to the railroad tracks. Locate a historical plaque “In Battle, Good Men Die”
- What was the name of General Rosecrans’ chief of staff that was killed by his side on December 31st 1862?
- What did General Rosecrans save to remember the loss of his friend?
Hike to your left to Old Nashville Hwy and turn right. When you reach the National Cemetery turn right into the entrance. Locate the Historical plaque: “This Precious Dust”
- In 1865, two years after the battle, which Federal Infantry Unit was tasked with disinterring the Federal bodies from the battlefield to the National Cemetery?
Continue hiking toward the circular drive. Locate on your right the white Historical Tablet near the cannon. “Artillery Protects the Supply Line”
- How many and what type of cannon did Loomis and Guenther Batteries use to smash the Confederates attempts to capture the Nashville Pike?
Locate the cannon.
- On the barrel face what is the name of the manufacturer?
Hike to the upright cannon (Mortuary Monument) near the left side of the center and locate the plaque.
- What date was the cemetery established and how many Federal internments are listed?
- Which Infantry units is the monument In Memory of?
Congratulations you have completed the Battle of Murfreesborough, Stones River Memorial Trail!
Each participant is eligible to receive a Battle of Murfreesborough, Stones River Reconnoitering Award Pin for your Fort Donelson Trail Medal Ribbon.
Please go to the ordering form for more details.