The Federals Final Rally Turns the Tide

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The Battle of Stone’s River, Murfreesboro: For the Federals, the chaos and retreat came to an end here at the edge of this cotton field.

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Imagine the narrow belt of land between the Nashville Pike you see ahead and the railroad tracks just behind it jammed with 30,000 soldiers, dozens of cannon, and countless horses. The Confederates who charged out of the cedars into this field would have seen what seemed to them to be an endless wall of blue coats, rallied and reinforced along the road ahead. For the Federals, the long hours of chaos and retreat at last came to an end here at the edge of this cotton field. This western army of the United States ended the year 1862 badly battered, but still full of fight.

Many of my Regiment got within 60 yards of the enemy guns, but were compelled to give back for want of support. It seemed the Commanders expected our Brigade and the Texas Brigade that fought beside us to rout the entire Federal army at the odds of 10 to 1! the enemy Batteries seemed to have no end either way My Regiment lost 119 killed, wounded or missing.

James Williamson, lieutenant colonel, 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles

1862 December 31st , noon

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