Stones River National Battlefield | TOUR STOP 5: ROUND FOREST

Hazen Brigade Monument

Hazen Brigade Monument

The first four stops of the Stones River National Battlefield Tour follow the December 31st fighting in chronological order. The action at Stop 5 happened throughout the day. It is included on the tour because it is a unique and interesting place to visit. The Union right had been pushed back during the morning fighting in a southwest to northeast direction, folding up on the rest of the Union lines like a pocket knife closing. The hinge of that “knife,” the part that never moves, is located at the Round Forest, or as it was known after the fighting, “Hell’s Half Acre.” This is the only section of the Union line that was able to maintain its position for the entire first day of fighting, and if it had been taken by the Rebels, it would have split the Union Army in two. Defended by four regiments under the command of Colonel William Hazen, the men successfully repulsed four Confederate charges that day. The brigade suffered over 400 casualties.

Today the spot is marked by the Hazen Brigade Monument. Unlike most Civil War monuments that were erected many years after the war, the Hazen Brigade Monument was built just six months after the battle by members of the brigade. It is the oldest Civil War monument in existence that is still standing in its original location (there were two older monuments, but one no longer exists and the other has been moved to a new location). A stone wall encloses the monument grounds. Forty-five members of the brigade who died in the battle are buried here.

Hazen Brigade Monument

Hazen Brigade Monument

Graves within the walls of the Hazen Brigade Monument

Graves at the Hazen Brigade Monument

Graves within the walls of the Hazen Brigade Monument

Graves at the Hazen Brigade Monument

There are two graves outside the wall that belong to William Holland and his grandson William Harlan. Holland was a former slave who served in the Union army. He worked at the Stones River National Cemetery and eventually bought the land where his grave is situated. William Harlan served in World War I. The land is now part of the Stones River National Cemetery, and both men are eligible to be buried here, thus the government-issued headstones.

Grave of William Holland and his grandson William Harland

Grave of William Holland and his grandson William Harland


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Last updated on March 10, 2020
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