December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863 - Union and Confederate forces clash at the Battle of Stones River. Retreating south after the Battle of Perryville, Gen. Braxton Bragg assumed a position near Murfreesboro, TN. Pursued by Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans (right), Union forces reached the area on December 29. While both commanders intended to attack on December 31, Bragg moved forward first and drove back Rosecrans' right flank. Though forced back, the Union line ultimately held, though both sides took heavy losses. After a day of rest, the fighting was resumed on January 2, with neither side gaining an advantage. With Rosecrans' army growing in strength, Bragg elected to retreat to Tullahoma, TN on January 3. Though a stalemate on the field, the battle boosted Northern spirits after the defeat at Fredericksburg.
Photograph Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration