On January 3, 1863, the three-day Battle for Stone’s River concluded. The battle had seen Confederate General Braxton Bragg attempt to assume a commanding position in middle Tennessee.
Twice, Bragg moved against Union positions under the command of Major General William J. Rosecrans. With the benefit of artillery and superior positioning, Rosecrans prevailed both times, and Bragg finally withdrew. After having faced a string of disappointments in the previous year, the Union enjoyed a boost in morale in the battle’s aftermath.
With over 20,000 dead, wounded or missing on both sides, the battle represented one of the bloodiest events of the entire war. A headline running in the New York Times described a “terrible battle.” A telegraph from the front concluded that “the losses are reported to be enormous.”