Battle of Stones River (December 31st, 1862-January 2nd, 1863) 

Stones River (also known as the Battle of Murfreesboro) was one of the few major battles that was fought during the winter. In the winter of 1862 Confederate General Braxton Bragg retreated with his 38,000 men into winter quarters at Murfreesboro, TN.  On December 26, Union Major General William S. Rosecrans left Nashville with 43,000 men with the goal of sweeping Bragg out of Tennessee and moving into Chattabnooga, another railroad center on the Tennessee River. On December 30th the Union camped within one half mile of the Confederates along the Nashville Pike (a highway) and the main rail line. The next morning, the Confederates srurpised the Union attacking first on the Union's right driving the Union back. Rosecrans rushed in reinforcements from the left and told them to "contest every inch of ground." A late attack at the center of the Union line by Major General John C. Breckinridge's brigades was beat back with rifle butts and bayonets.  (Interestingly Breckinridge was Vice President of the United States before the war.) The fight ended that night and no one celebrated New Year's Eve. The next day there was little fighting.

On January 2nd, Bragg was surprised to still see the Union there - he thought they would fall back - and on a hill that threatened his right flank. Bragg sent 4,500 men to take the ground and drive the Union back across the river. In a cold rain the Confederates drove the Union across a river crossing called McFadden's Ford. As the COnfederate pursued the Union across the river, Captain John E. Mendenhall aimed 58 artillery guns on the heights and the charing Confederates. In minutes, 1,800 Confederate soldiers were killed and the Southern soldiers retreated. The Battle of Stones River cost  the Union 13, 249 casualties and the Rebels 10,266. Bragg withdrew and Rosecrans claimed victory.