Things To Do In Murfreesboro, TN: Visit the Battle of Stones River

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While there are many things to do in Murfreesboro, TN, traveling back in time and visiting historical places is very significant in my opinion.  While it’s important to live in the present and it’s fun to look towards the future, there is a lot to be learned from spending a day in the past as well.  Being in the South, we’ve got plenty of Civil War sites where I’m from.  My hometown, Franklin, is home to the Battle of Franklin – known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

Things To Do In Murfreesboro, TN

Civil War Sites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

For the sake of this post though, I’m going to share the Battle of Stones River that took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee – just 30 minutes away from Franklin.

The Battle of Stones River began on the last day in 1862 with the Confederacy starting out very strong.  Bragg expected Rosecrans to retreat on New Year’s Day but Rosecrans was stubborn and held out.  Knowing he couldn’t hold his position much longer and knowing the Union would be receiving reinforcements, Bragg ordered a retreat on January 2nd.

In just a three day battle, there was estimated to be just under 25,000 casualties.

Fortress Rosecrans: The Civil War’s Largest Fort

The fortress was built in the first half of 1863 following the Battle of Stones River and was the largest fort built during the Civil War – covering almost a mile wide.  It became a logistical support for the Union’s push into the South.

civil war, murfreesboro, tennessee


Stones River National Cemetery

Today, more than 6,100 Union soldiers are buried in Stones River National Cemetery. Of these, 2,562 are unknown. Nearly 1,000 veterans and some family members, who served in the century since the Civil War are also interred there.

Do you enjoy visiting historical sites during your travels?  What about military history in particular?  Any other historical things to do in Murfreesboro, TN? Sound off in the comments below!

**I’m no history expert.  If I’ve somehow screwed up the facts, please let me know.

This Post Has 92 Comments

  1. Lisa from Lulu's Big Adventure

    I’ve never been to any American battle sites, but when I was in France several years ago, I went to many of the battlefields from WWI. It was an interesting experience!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I love WWII history and really want to visit all the sites – one day!

  2. Corinne

    I love a good historical site, especially one that is outdoors. I did once go to the Battlefield for Little Big Horn. Nothing. There was nothing there, so it was kind of boring…Love this B post!

  3. History isnt really my thing, but I think that you need to know where you come from to know where youre going! A visit to the battlefield would be pretty cool though. I prefer Mayan ruins to american history for some odd reason (probably because I know Ill most likely be going to the beach later on!)

  4. Breathtaking images, first of all, those are beautiful. I have never been to Tennessee, looks like it would be a very nice place to emerge ourselves into some history lessons. Nice blog, dear!

  5. Paige

    I love visiting historical sites. I especially love going to plantations, seeing how they used to live and visiting battlefields like you showed above. Great history and fabulous pictures 🙂 I’ve always been a bit jealous of history buffs.

    _Visiting from A to Z

  6. Teresa Delgado

    This was a great find for me today and I can’t wait to follow you all through the challenge. I have followed you on twitter, instagram and Facebook. I love historical sites and being a former history teacher one of my goals is to visit battlefield sites from the civil war and the american revolution. well done piece! Teresa visiting from the following sitesFangirl Next Door, Quackin Over Disney, Stormy’s Sidekick Geek On!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks so much Teresa! I bet you would definitely love this being a history teacher 🙂

  7. Jeff Johns

    Great post Ashley! One of my favorite things to do growing up on the East Coast was visiting different civil war battle grounds like Gettysburg and Antietam, such amazing history. Great post here and another place I’ve just got to visit, love the pictures too!

  8. Chris Boothman

    Firstly, kudos to you for writing a post on your home town (or at least pretty close to Franklin). I remember visiting Murfreesboro a couple of years ago, it was more of a passing visit, I think we went there just to visit Hastings (I know sad right) but we were in Nashville and there was something we just had to get and couldn’t find it anywhere.

    The images you have included here are awesome and it’s great to read about so much history that there is in this part of the US.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      You know I got a soft spot for my hometown(s)! Thanks so much and y’all will have to come back 🙂

  9. Ann

    I’ve only been to a few civil war places – I’ve never seen a reenactment or anything. But, yes, I definitely have visited military sites in the past. Mostly in Belgium and Japan. It’s interesting to see where these things actually happened and so many of the places are still uninhabited so you can get more of a feeling of what things were back then.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      That’s awesome that you’ve been to those sites. I’d love to see them!

  10. I enjoy visiting historical spots while traveling. I visited two battlefields last summer, both Nez Perce Native American battlefields and I learned so much about what happened there – more than I ever did in school!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Ohh those sound awesome! I’d love to visit them. You’re right – there’s no education like actually seeing and experiencing a place.

  11. RobRob

    Great post and beautiful pictures. We missed a chance to visit Mufreesboro last year, and I regret that even more now. Which just means we’ll need to make plans to return to Tennessee! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks so much! I hope you can make it back to Tennessee someday 🙂

  12. I love visiting historic sites and will be writing about one as part of this challenge. I think the older I get the more I appreciate history and all that has happened on this land. Great post Ashley, I can’t wait to visit Tennessee!

  13. Sammi

    Definitely love visiting historical sites, you don’t really know a place unless you know where it came from.

  14. Anabel

    I think it’s really important to be aware of the past. I’ve visited some Civil War sites in Virginia and found them incredibly moving – the sunken road at Fredericksburg, for example. You can almost imagine how it must have felt to be caught up in the war.

  15. Jempi & Nina

    Very nice article Ashley. We live not so far from Flanders Fields (WW1) and the cemeteries look the same. We all need to be reminded about the effects of war. Great post! Cheers from Jempi & Nina.

  16. Calli

    The Southern United States is somewhere we’d love to visit, but I’d never given much thought to the Civil War sites in the area. For some reason that’s one part of the US that doesn’t really make its way up to Canada. Thanks for getting me thinking about a visit in a new light 🙂

  17. Leslie

    Great post! The pictures are great. Did you take them yourself?

    I really enjoy visiting historical sites. My family took a trip to Gettysburg when I was a young girl, and that trip still stands out in my mind.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I did take these photos 🙂 I’d love to go to Gettysburg one day.

  18. Tam Gamble

    We travelled to Normandy last year to visit the sites of WWII and the D-Day landings. Some of the memorial sites are so well preserved and are honoured each year, each in there own way. We spent the entire weekend travelling the coast visiting each site.

    One of the best kept was the site of the Omaha beach landing and the cemetery that is now on the grounds. It is extensive and, in a way, is extremely upsetting that so many lost their lives, but you have to admire the way that even now, after all this time, it looks as if it was only created yesterday.

    If you do visit Normandy I would also suggest spending some time at Pegasus Bridge, there is a memorial museum there along with two cafes, one of which was a house that was invaded during the war.

  19. Stephanie Smith

    I love history and I find that Civil War even though not my favorite part of history is still fascinating.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      It’s not my favorite war to learn about but still pretty fascinating since it’s home 🙂

  20. Teresa C.

    This is awesome. My dad used to be a part of a Civil War reinactment group.

  21. B is for Bianca 😛

    25000 casualities in just 3 days? That’s terrible. Looking at all the history we learn about in school and what is currently happening in the world its scary because it seems like we dont learn too much from our terrible history as we continue to inflict suffering from every corner of the world…Great to reflect though. Great post, Ashley.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I thought that number was insane myself – but times were different then too. Thanks Bianca! 🙂

  22. Birgit

    History is very important, I believe, it lets us know where we come from, our culture and what mistakeswere made so it doesn’t happen again. I also believe it teaches people to be more respectful and treasure what is lost or forgotten when it shouldn’t be. I was only 18 when we travelled through Gettysburg on a school tour to Washington DC. I found it important. I love watching documentaries on anything historical. My dad fought in WW2 and was part of the liberation of Holland and my mom is German and was only 17 when the war ended and she lived through things noone should. I love what you wrote and that it means something to you since you grew up in that area. It touches your soul I think

  23. Melissa

    I also love visiting historical sites! Unfortunately I have not seen many in the southern US, but I plan to remedy that someday. Thanks for taking me to Murfreesboro!

  24. Great post! Love your pics as always. Will have to pay a trip to the southern US to discover all these great places! Well done on the A to Z challenge too!

  25. Heather Jones

    Love it! Great pictures.

    Stopping by during the A to Z challenge!

  26. I was born in the south but grew up traveling with my Army officer father. Historical sites anywhere in the world. It’s all good. I love your plans and intend to live vicariously through your adventure. My passport is getting cobwebs.

  27. Michael Huxley

    I absolutely love visiting historical sites wherever I can, I’m a big history and archaeology geek at the best of times so I always love history in any form, but I think some of the more recent historical sites – especially the military ones – give us such a different perspective on our own lives, makes us think about the sacrifices that have been made on the very spots that we are standing on as tourists. It’s very humbling, to say the least.

  28. Stephanie

    I graduated from MTSU and never actually went to the battlefield. Thanks for sharing it’s story!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks so much Damyanti! It really is – it’s one of those things that’s hard to hear about but interesting at the same time.

  29. Rebekah Loper

    I haven’t had the opportunity to visit many historical sights, but the most memorable one I’ve been to is Pea Ridge National Military Park in Arkansas. My husband tells me that he’s a direct descendant of the general who led the battle there… for the Confederates.

    The scenery there is lovely, while it’s also still very sobering to think that hundreds of people died there.

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      That’s pretty awesome that he’s a direct descendant! Thanks Rebekah 🙂

  30. Rhonda Albom

    When we were children and traveled with our parents, my dad always wanted to stop at every battle field. I think I burned out on them for life. Now we almost never stop. Looking at your photos I am realizing I am missing something. Thanks for sharing.
    Visiting from AtoZ

  31. Karen Warren

    I love visiting historic sites. Here in Europe our sites are so old that we tend to overlook the fact that there is plenty of history in the US as well – thanks for reminding me!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks Karen! It is weird to think this happened not that long ago at all.

  32. Elena

    I never had the chance to visit many historical sites while I was living in the states, nice to see they exist! Very neat graveyard 🙂

  33. Britany

    Beautiful shots of the cemetery. I love the long shadows cast by the trees.

  34. Great post. I was raised in East TN, and born in Murfreesboro, yet you know more about the area than I do. It’s always fun to see your home through the eyes of a tourist! Happy writing!

  35. Great photos! What a beautiful historical site. We like historical museums but we haven’t been to any civil war sites. Thanks for the preview! Good luck with the A-Z challenge!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Thanks so much Mary! Hopefully you can visit some civil war sites in the future!

  36. jennifer

    I am the epitome of “stupid American” so you will never catch me correcting any details on history!

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      Haha well good…I do my best to get the facts correct but I’m bound to mess up somewhere 🙂

  37. Hi Ashley, I also love visiting historical part. If you want to get to know the country I think it’s an essential part of the trip. Unfortunately, I stopped visiting these sight in the past couple of year in the Nethlands, but I think it’s time to change that ;)!

  38. Angela Travels

    Pennsylvania has some great battlefields as well. I have been to a few and always enjoy learning a piece of the history.

  39. Holy crap that is a lot of soldiers, I had no idea (well maybe at one point during history class but forgot haha) Civil War was such a sad time for the States, so many lives lost. Great to remember the significance of these historical sites.

  40. Stephanie

    I love visiting historical sites too. I went through a major history phase between middle school and my junior year of high school. My parents indulged me on it, wonderfully enough.
    Great post. 🙂

  41. After travelling (of course!) history is my first love! I’m a bit obsessed with the English Civil War and love visiting sites, especially castles that were once sieged and are still standing. Its interesting to learn about the American War (which I know shamefully little about except through reading fiction), the same sort of tales happened over here in England, we’re not all so different after all. Thanks for sharing (and educating 🙂

  42. Jon @

    Nice photos Ashley! I haven’t been to any historical war sites like this but I went to the killing fields in Cambodia, pretty depressing, but it was worth it.

  43. Jim Kane

    A wonderful post Ashley! I have been to several battlefields in Virginia but not yet in Tennessee. Best wishes on your AtoZ challenge and future travel plans.

  44. Fie

    I love historic stuff, but coming from Europe I find American history “kinda boring” I don’t know if it’s just because of the age of some of the Things Americans call historic sites. But I loved your article and I really want to go to Tennessee at some point 🙂 I’ve only seen the West and the East coast of US, so I think I have to go to the middle 🙂

    1. Ashley Hubbard

      I could understand that…it’s definitely as much history as Europe so I can appreciate that! I hope you can make it to Tennessee one day! 🙂

  45. History was never something that particularly motivated me at school but I’m sure if I got to visit sites such as this one, it would have brought it all much more to life for me and sparked much more of an interest. Thanks for sharing your insights. 🙂

  46. City Sea Country

    Thanks for sharing this interesting article. I am into historical places but not particular into war related places to be honest.

  47. Erin

    Very informative. Somehow the eerie feeling of calm, that only battlefields and graveyards hold, comes through.

  48. John Roberts

    I am very interested in war history, particularly WWII and the Civil War. Going to these types of sights always makes me so introspective to consider what the people of the times were going though. Great pictures with this post. Thanks. Happy travels.

  49. Ashley and Alex

    I absolutely loved visiting the civil war sites when I was younger. Thanks for sharing the history of this one!

  50. Selina

    Love the photos and this was a really interesting post.

    I’ll be looking out for updates on your travels on Twitter!

  51. Jennifer

    Hey Ashley, great job on writing this article.I read a lot about the Civil war and now I really want to visit the sites you wrote about!

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