Stones River, a Virtual Tour
Stones River National Battlefield
Fortress Rosecrans


March 1995: Webmaster
May 2003: Brian Risher, MS
June 2013: James Neel, TX

(5-03Fortress Rosecrans
Interpretive Marker: Fortress Rosecrans
Interpretive Marker: Field of Fire

Panorama: Fortress Rosecrans     Pan 2     Pan 3

(5-03Fortress Rosecrans
Interpretive Marker: Toil and Mud
Interpretive Marker: A Vast Depot


(5-03) Enlarge Fortress Rosecrans (Lunette Palmer)

(5-03Fortress Rosecrans (Redoubt Brannan)
Panorama: Redoubt Brannan


(6-2013) Enlarge Said to have been the largest earthen fort in America, Fortress Rosecrans was built at Murfreesboro by the Union Army of the Cumberland in spring and early summer of 1863. I had wondered before why it took Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans six months to resume his advance on the Confederates at nearby Wartrace and Tullahoma following the Battle of Stones River, fought Dec. 31, 1862 - Jan. 2, 1863. An understanding of the size, scope, and purpose of this installation helps to understand the delay, since the cautious Rosecrans intended to stockpile enough food, ammunition, and other supplies to sustain 65,000 men for several months of active campaigning. The 200-acre Fortress was enclosed within three miles of earthworks, punctuated at intervals by redoubts and other large works like Redoubt Brannan above, named for one of Rosecrans' brigade commanders
Courtesy of James Neel, TX


(6-2013) Enlarge Bisected by the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, the fortress was intended to garrison up to 15,000 men who were to protect the storehouses and powder magazines built within. Being so near modern Murfreesboro little has survived of the sprawling complex, save the small square Redoubt Brannan and a larger work now within Old Fort Park next to a golf course. A series of winding trails connect the remains of Lunettes Thomas and Palmer and their curtain wall. Some of the traverses in the lunettes ( moon-shaped earthen mini-forts ) can still be seen, above and below
Courtesy of James Neel


(6-2013) Enlarge The Federals were concerned for their supply line in part because Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest had already captured the town and supply base once before; after the construction of Fortress Rosecrans there were no further incidents. Despite considerable prodding from Lincoln and Stanton, once the works were completed Rosecrans moved swiftly, sidling Bragg out of Middle Tennessee into northern Georgia and capturing Chattanooga with little attendant loss. Though I've never seen it credited, the stockpile here surely helped sustain the Army of the Cumberland between its defeat at Chickamauga and the raising of the halfhearted "siege" of Chattanooga by Grant in Nov., 1863
Courtesy of James Neel


(6-2013) Enlarge This is the first time I'd seen any of the remaining works, most of which are in satellite units of Stones River Battlefield Park. An interesting example of intimidation is represented by this portion of Lunette Thomas, named for corps commander Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas; the Parrott rifled cannon is located where one was sighted on the Murfreesboro Courthouse, in case of trouble from the citizenry!
Courtesy of James Neel

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