The Stones River National Battlefield is offering a full slate of programs and activities to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Stones River. The battlefield is accessible from Thompson Lane and Old Nashville Highway in Murfreesboro. Events are free.:
All programs begin at the park visitor center.
10 a.m.: “The Approaching Thunder” — Join a ranger for a talk that focuses on the events of the Stones River campaign 150 years ago to the day. 30 minutes
11 a.m.: Battlefield Walk — Join a ranger for a walk through a different section of the battlefield each day. 60 minutes
1 p.m.: “Stones River Stories” — Listen as a ranger shares the story of a soldier or group of soldiers who fought in the Battle of Stones River. 30 minutes
2 p.m.: Battlefield Caravan Tour — Visitors will follow a ranger in their vehicles and stop at four sites to learn about the events and people that are part of the story of the Battle of Stones River. 90 minutes
3 p.m.: “Living Under the Guns” — Discover how the Battle of Stones River changed the lives of civilians. 30 minutes
Camp programs near the battlefield’s visitor center:
9 a.m.: “The Approaching Thunder” — Join a ranger for a talk that describes the events of the Stones River campaign 150 years ago to the day.
10 a.m.: “Rising Tide” — Learn how the Confederates shattered the Union right flank during the morning of Dec. 31, 1862. Musket demonstration.
11 a.m.: “Resisting the Tide” — A ranger will recount the harrowing fight in the Slaughter Pen where Union forces bought time for their comrades to build a new defensive line. Musket demonstration.
Noon: “Covering the Retreat” — Watch cannons fire and learn how Union artillery struggled to hold back the Confederate tide with mixed results. Cannon demonstration.
1 p.m.: “Hell's Half Acre” — A ranger will recount the bloody struggle the of Confederate infantry as it attacked the Round Forest. Musket demonstration.
2 p.m.: “Fighting for the Pike” — A ranger will tell visitors how the Union infantry made its final stand at the Nashville Pike on Dec. 31, 1862. Musket demonstration.
3 p.m.: “Artillery Saves the Days” — Visitors will learn about the critical role of cannons in forging the Union victory. Cannon demonstration.
4 p.m.: “A Hard-Earned Victory” — Join a ranger for a discussion of the important military, political and social impacts of the costly Union victory at Stones River.
• While you wait for the next demonstration to begin, join soldiers and civilians in an interpretive camp and discover the stories from beyond the battlefield. Presentations will deal with Gen. George H. Thomas, the Signal Corps, artificers, camp games, the provost marshal and the civilian story of Holly McFadden. The interpretive camp will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
• Young visitors can gather at the Family Fun Tent from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and complete activities to earn a special 150th anniversary Junior Ranger badge.
All programs will last 30 minutes and begin at the park visitor center.
Monday Dec. 31
9 a.m.: “The Line That Wouldn’t Break” — Join a ranger for a walk along the Union line that halted the Confederate tide along the Nashville Pike. Walk begins at the visitor center and lasts 60 minutes.
• Book Signings — Historians Michael Bradley, Shirley Jones and Chris Kolakowski will sign copies of their books about the Civil War in Tennessee in the park visitor center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each author will also present a 30-minute talk:
11:30 a.m.: “The Battle of Stones River” — Chris Kolakowski
1:30 p.m.: “Murfreesboro in the Civil War” — Shirley Jones
2:30 p.m.: “The Tullahoma Campaign” — Michael Bradley
• Voices of Stones River — Tour the battlefield and find living history demonstrations at Tour Stop 2 and the visitor center featuring descriptions of the Battle of Stones River as written by the soldiers who were lucky enough to survive the carnage. Thirty-minute programs will be offered hourly at each location from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. Artillery demonstrations at the visitor center and musket demonstrations at Tour Stop 2.
4 p.m.: “A Hard-Earned Victory” — Join a ranger for a discussion of the important military, political and social impacts of the costly Union victory at Stones River. 30 minutes
Tuesday, Jan. 1
10 a.m.: “The Eye of the Storm” — Learn about the quiet, but critical, events of New Year’s Day that shaped the outcome of the battle. 30 minutes
11 a.m.: “Digging In” — Walk around the earthworks built by the Pioneer Brigade and discuss how the use of field fortifications changed the course of the battle. 60 minutes
1 p.m.: “Mr. Lincoln’s Proclamation” — President Abraham Lincoln will share his thoughts on creating the Emancipation Proclamation and how it changed the Civil War and the nation. 30 minutes
2 p.m.: Expressions of Freedom — Students from McGavock High School will share the videos they created for the National Park Foundation’s Expressions of Freedom contest. 60 minutes
3 p.m.: “Mr. Lincoln’s Proclamation”
All programs begin at the park visitor center.
“The Very Forest Seemed to Fall” — See and feel the power of Union artillery and experience the battle’s bloody climax through the stories of the cannoneers who stopped Breckinridge’s charge.
Programs at 10 and 11 a.m., 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. at the visitor center.