The first days of January 2018 marked the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Stones River. Do you have a favorite general or unit from that battle? Why?
My personal favorite is the Signal Corps, which, like the Army of the Cumberland was not called that at the time. Until very recently, it was universally assumed that signalists were not active during the Stones River Campaign. We now know that Confederate pickets watched torch waving signal activity all night long before the first day of battle. Enigmatic notations on messages received at Rosecrans’ headquarters that were assumed to be a staff officer’s initials, “RS” are, in fact “Recieved Signal”. This is very fresh, you will not find it in any source. The signalist’s HQ wagon was burned during Wheeler’s raid during the battle. Documentary evidence of any kind regarding the activities of the signalists is very scarse. If nothing else, we now know the influence of George Thomas’ embrace of signalizing had permeated the AoC & become standard operating procedure. Nothing that followed the advance to Murfreesboro & on to Savanna could have been accomplished w/o signalizing. Now that we know to look, I expect there will be a more complete understanding of the birth of the Signal Corps at Stones River in the near future. Something this fresh & new has to be my favorite.
The Second Arkansas Mounted Rifles, if only because my direct ancestor managed to survive the generalship of Braxton Bragg!
I lean towards Phil Sheridan’s division. Their fight in the cedars helped give Rosecrans time to build a new defensive line along the Nashville Pike. Heavy casualties and all three brigade commanders killed in action.
A ‘tweener – John Mendenhall. Symbolic of the impact which the redlegs could have on a battle when properly used.
And contrast this with how they were misused in the admittedly different environment at Chickamauga.
A good point. The irony is that Mendenhall actually had his assembled guns (26, IIRC) in a very good position with a good field of observation and fire but the whole thing was undone by the hole in the Union line created by Wood’s withdrawal and Longstreet’s almost simultaneous exploitation of that. Infantry support is an essential.
I am intrigued by Joshua Sill. This is one of those “had he lived” moments. I beiieve that had he survived, he would have risen to at least divisional command by Chickamauga, and perhaps higher.
Ltc Oliver L. Shepherd and the Regular Brigade of the West (bns of the 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th US Infantry), twice placed in the front line to buy time for other fought-out units to reform along the Nashville Pike, suffered 44% casualties and accomplished their mission.
George Thomas for his quote in response to Rosecrans’ what do we do now after the first day of battle, that he could think of no better place to die
All great comments. I’d also add Gates Thruston and his rescue of the Right Wing wagon train, William B. Hazen and his guys at the Round Forest, and Rousseau’s division in the Cedars and along the Nashville Pike.
Union General William Babcock Hazen, and the defense he led at the “Round Forest”. My Great-greatgrandfather (41st OVI – Hazen’s original regimental
level command) was seriously wounded in the first days fighting in that area; eventually led to the end of his service, at 48 years of age.
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