The Battle of Stones River: Remembering the Fallen

StonesRiverMonument

Hazen Brigade Monument
Stones River National Battlefield

Erected in 1863, just six months after the battle, the Hazen Brigade Monument represents one of the first efforts by soldiers to commemorate fallen comrades. It is the oldest intact Civil War monument in the country.

Hazen’s Brigade—consisting of the 9th Indiana, the 41st Ohio, the 6th Kentucky, and the 110th Illinois—lost nearly thirty percent of its men during the fighting on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2. However, it was also the only Federal brigade to hold its ground for the entire battle. Even as the Federal right buckled, Hazen’s men held firm along a ridge astride the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, repelling four major assaults over the course of the first day’s fighting. The fighting was so fierce men called the area “Hell’s Half-Acre.” The brigade’s sturdy defense gave the Army of the Cumberland a rallying point.

“The Veterans of Shiloh have left a Deathless Heritage of Fame Upon the Field of Stones River,” an inscription on the monument says.

According to the NPS, the monument is approximately 10-foot square and built of limestone blocks 1.6 feet thick. Soldiers constructed a time capsule in the center of the monument; the items enclosed in the capsule are now on display in the visitor center.

While forty-five members of the brigade are buried with the monument, which sits enclosed in a stone wall at the crest of a small hill, there are more than 6,100 Union soldiers are buried in the surrounding Stones River National Cemetery, which dates back to 1865. More than one-third of those soldiers interred in the cemetery—2,562 of them—are unknown.

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