Western Swing: Day 04

Kris White goes the extra mile to get the perfect shot while Chris Mackowski and Jim Lewis share the story of Stones River’s Slaughter Pen.

Next stop on our swing through Tennessee: a visit to Stones River National Battlefield. This was a special treat for me because I finally had the chance to spend some time in the field with legendary NPW historian Jim Lewis. Jim has been at the park for twenty-five years, and although I’ve heard much about him, I’d never before had the chance to meet him in person. What a privilege it was–and what a treat to hear him interpret stories on the battlefield.

It was a gray, misty morning when Kris White, Garry Adelman, and I arrived on the battlefield, but at least it was warm. And as the day wore on, the misty rain cleared up, even if the skies remained gloomy. Jim told us it was pretty close to the weather in the closing days of 1862.

Join us as we continue our video tour of western battlefields for the American Battlefield Trust:

In the three days ending 1862 and beginning 1863, Union and Confederate forces clashed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, resulting in the highest percentage of casualties for both sides of any major battle of the American Civil War.

Garry Adelman, Kristopher White and Dr. Chris Mackowski are joined by special guest Jim Lewis, Chief Ranger of Stones River National Battlefield.


Dr. Chris Mackowski and Chief Ranger Jim Lewis detail the intense fighting in the Slaughter Pen at Stones River occurring on December 31, 1862. This is truly one of the most unique features of any Civil War battlefield, so be sure to check out the Stones River National Battlefield whenever you find yourself in the area!


After much sacrifice in the Slaughter Pen, the Union receives reinforcements just in time for another Confederate assault. Chief Ranger Jim Lewis continues to detail the Battle of Stones River with Garry Adelman.

From 10 a.m. in the morning until sunset, General William B. Hazen and his men held the Union line at Stones River against four separate Confederate attacks. Chief Ranger Jim Lewis, Dr. Chris Mackowski and Garry Adelman tell us more.


Chief Ranger Jim Lewis, Dr. Chris Mackowski and Garry Adelman wrap up our coverage of the Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro).


5 Responses to Western Swing: Day 04

  1. Jim Lewis did a tremendous job, not just of describing Stones River, but also putting it within the context of the Civil War and putting the Civil War in the context of the American experience. At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, you guys are killing it with these videos.

  2. So glad Jim covered the USCT grave. I found that so inspiring when we visited a couple of years ago. Also very cool to walk along Stones River itself.

  3. I heard Jim Lewis describe the “strategic brilliance” of Braxton Bragg, but I find that characterization difficult to swallow. Chattanooga was a disaster, as Exhibit A.

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