Official Tour Stops on the NPS brochure
Stop #1 – Eve of Battle
On December 30, after Rosecran’s Union army arrived at Murfreesboro, troops occupied this area along McFadden’s Lane. Soldier’s struggled to sleep in the freezing mud without campfires knowing a major battle was imminent. For thousands, that night would be their last (NPS text).
See full page for stop #1.
Stop # 2 – Slaughter Pen
Union soldiers fiercely defended their position here. Confederates launched attack after failed attack, causing heavy losses to both sides. Bodies piled up in the rocks, and blood soaked the ground. The Union retreated, but the delay gave their army time to form a new line along the Nashville Pike (NPS text).
See full page for stop #2.
Stop # 3 – Cotton Field
On December 31 Union troops established a defensive line along the Nashville Pike,. Pursuing Confederates entering the cotton field were greeted by cannon fire. A Texan recalled, “the artillery opened up on us . . . and it seemed that the heavens and the earth were coming together.” At dark both sides dug in for the night. Rosecran’s army had been pushed back three miles, but the Confederates had failed to capture the pike (NPS text).
Stop # 4 – Defending Nashville Pike
Thousands of retreating Union troops burst from the cedars in front of these cannon, followed by Confederates. The Chicago Board of Trade Battery sprang to action as the Pioneer Brigade poured volley after volley into the gray ranks. Canister charges forced the Confederates back to the cedars (NPS text).
Stop # 5 – Round Forest
This was the only Union position that held throughout the first day. Artillery and infantry halted the first attack at 10am and beat back three more as the day wore on. By dusk the fields of Hell’s Half Acre were covered with Confederate dead and wounded (NPS text).
Stop # 6 – McFadden Farm
Union soldiers hid behind stone and rail breastworks as men fled across the river chased by Confederates. Union cannon firing from above McFadden’s Ford hated the Confederates with shot, shell, and canister, killing and wounding over 1,800 men in less than an hour. This was the battle’s final action (NPS text).
Tour Map of the Blue & Gray Magazine