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Stone's River The Turning-Point of the Civil War   By:

Stone's River The Turning-Point of the Civil War by Wilson J. Vance

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The Turning Point of the Civil War


New York The Neale Publishing Company 1914

(Copyright, 1914) By The Neale Publishing Company




Preface 7

Introduction 9


I North and South in 1862 12

II Foreign Relations in 1862 21

III The Armies and Their Leaders 31

IV The First Day's Battle 44

V The Night and the Next Day 55

VI The Second of January, 1863 59

VII What Might Have Been, and What Was 63

Appendix 67



While many authorities were consulted in the preparation of this work, particular acknowledgment is due John Formby's "The American Civil War," wherein was suggested the proposition that is here laid down and expanded; to Van Horne's "History of the Army of the Cumberland," which gives the campaigns of that organization in minute detail; to several of the papers and books of Charles Francis Adams, documents that deal principally with the diplomacy of the Civil War, and to the published and spoken words of the author's father, the late Wilson Vance, orderly to the brigade commander whose charge against orders turned defeat into victory in the battle here described. The book grows out of a short article published in the Newark Sunday Call , December 29, 1912, an article that attracted considerable attention, rather because of the novelty of the theory advanced than because of other merit.

It may be permissible to add that few persons, comparatively, conceive the bearing on the outcome of the Civil War, of the campaigns and battles that took place beyond the Alleghanies. There is more than one pretentious history, which would lead a reader to suppose that all of the events of importance took place upon the Atlantic seaboard. It does not diminish in the least either the merit or the renown of the armies that measured their strength in that confined arena to suggest that the movements that resulted in the transfer of the control over hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory, territory that teemed with the fruits of the earth, was, taken in connection with the naval blockade, a very considerable factor in the wearing down and final collapse of the Southern Confederacy.


NEWARK, N. J., JULY 14, 1914.


On the banks of a shallow winding stream, traversing the region known as Middle Tennessee, on the last day of December, 1862, and on the first and second days of January, 1863, a great battle was fought, a battle that marked the turning point of the Civil War. Stone's River, as the North designated it, or Murfreesboro, to give it the Southern name, has hitherto not been estimated at its true importance. To the people of the two sections it seemed at the time but another Shiloh, horrifying, saddening, and bitterly disappointing. Its significance, likewise, has escaped almost all historians and military critics. But now the perspective of half a century gives it its proper place in the panorama of the great conflict.

Gettysburg, indeed, may have been the wound mortal of the Confederacy. But Gettysburg was, in very truth, a counsel of desperation, undertaken when the South was bleeding from many a vein. When Lee turned the faces of his veterans toward the fruitful fields of Pennsylvania, a wall of steel and fire encompassed his whole country. Warworn Virginia cried out for relief from the marchings of armies, that her people might raise the crops that would save them from starvation. Grant had at last established his lines around the fortress that dominated the Mississippi, and only by such a diversion, was there hope that his death grip would be shaken... Continue reading book >>

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