Friday, January 17, 2014

Our visit to Stones River National Park Battlefield

The quiet that covers the raw carnage of the Civil War is what I will always remember about visiting Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro. Visitors today might never suspect that one of the bloodiest battles of the civil war would happen in peaceful Murfreesboro.

Fighting raged from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. About 80,000 men fought here. By the time the fighting drew to a close over 23,000 would be killed, wounded or captured.

Easy to follow directions are on the park website. Helpful GPS coordinates are included on the link. One of my favorite travel items is a map. I'm happy to say that the NPS website offers a general state overview, troop movement and historic battleground maps.

Stones River National Battlefield doesn't have an admission fee and you are free to stay until dark. I always enjoy national park visitor centers. The park ranger here was glad to fill me in on park rules when I got my passbook stamped.

The first is that there is no spreading picnic blankets on the ground here. Visitors should use the picnic area provided. It's just across the parking lot from the center.

Other rules include:

  • Pets are allowed on the property as long as they are on a 6' leash.
  • The park is adjacent to a greenway system.
  • Use of the crosswalk is required.
  • Skateboards, roller blades and the like are not permitted.
  • Stones River National Battlefield participates in the Junior Ranger Program

The ranger also spoke about Jospeh Palmer. This man went from being one of the mayors in Murfreesboro to becoming a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He led a group of Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Stones River. Ultimately, he was one of untold numbers who fought against friends and neighbors during this dark moment of American History.

Old Nashville Highway isn't a very busy street on this part of the highway.  I had no fear that my service dog and I would be run over in the crosswalk as in other cities. The friendly drivers stopped and waved in greeting as we crossed.

Over 6,000 Union solders are buried here. Headstones are scattered on the hill for as far as the eye can see. Not all are from the Civil War. Other headstones mark the graves of soldiers from World War I and more recent wars. Confederate soldiers are buried in Evergreen Cemetery at Confederate Circle.

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