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For six hours, the Confederates had been on the attack. Their relentless onslaught had pushed half the Union army back three miles. Tangled cedar woods and rock filled terrain took their toll. A 1,800-man brigade of tired Tennesseans finally emerged from this tree line at midday. Momentum was slowing. Confidence still ran high.
Facing them across the wide cotton field you see here were dense formations of fresh Federal troops. On the knoll where the trees of the National Cemetery now stand, 38 enemy cannon blasted forth a steady firestorm of death and destruction.
General George Maney sized up the situation. He gave orders to his six regiments to stack arms so that they could catch their breath. They rested here under cover.
Maney’s Confederates dropped trees and dug trenches to fortify this line during the day-long lull in fighting on New Years Day 1863.
December 31st 1862 early afternoon