The fields you see here witnessed a full afternoon of ferocious fighting on the first day of battle at Stones River. Federal cannon raked the Confederates charging across the open cotton fields toward the Nashville Pike. Here Union regiments that had been pushed back since sunrise stopped their retreat and held their ground.
I never saw guns served as fast... Before the recoil was expended the gunners... threw the pieces [back] into [firing] position... the swab was run in, the handle turned, withdrawn, the charge sent home, and the gun fired... The [Confederate] charge kept coming, coming like the sea, ever nearer at each succeeding wave. But men were not born who could... face that storm of caniste...they broke, the fled... and took refuge in the clump of trees and weeds...
Alfred Pirtle, lieutenant 10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Rousseau's Division
There was no time for fear, Every eye strained forward on that line of dingy gray... wavering, reeling, checked completely as the full weight of our fire poured into their ranks.
Ebenezer Hannaford, private 6th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
The [Federal] artillery opened up on us and cut the timber off over our heads, and it seemed the heavens and earth were coming together. Our men sheltered themselves as best they could behind trees and ledges of rock...a retreat... was our only salvation from death or capture.
John T. Tunnel, private 14th Texas Infantry
We were not able to rout the enemy from his strong position. At the time we charged, on battery... was pounding shot and shell upon us, and two others, one on each side, turned loose a perfect hail of balls on us...
James A. Williamson, lieutenant colonel 2nd Arkansas Mounted Infantry