cover of book

Decisions at Stones River: The Sixteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Battle
by Matt Spruill and Lee Spruill
photographs by Tim Kissel
University of Tennessee Press, 2018
eISBN: 978-1-62190-379-6 | Paper: 978-1-62190-378-9
Library of Congress Classification E474.77.S679 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.733


From December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, the Army of the Cumberland and Army of Tennessee fought a bloody battle along Stones River. Led by Major General William S. Rosecrans, Union forces would eventually emerge victorious. Coming at the end of a series of Union defeats, this victory would give Lincoln and the Northern population a bright ray of hope during a fall and winter of reversals.

Decisions at Stones River introduces readers to critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders. Matt Spruill and Lee Spruill examine the decisions that shaped the way the campaign and battle unfolded. Rather than offering a history of the Battle of Stones River, the Spruills focus on the critical decisions, those decisions that had a major impact on both Federal and Confederate forces in shaping the progression of the battle as we know it today. This account is designed to present the reader with a coherent and manageable blueprint of the battle’s development. Exploring and studying the critical decisions allows the reader to progress from an understanding of “what happened” to “why events happened” as they did.

Complete with maps and a guided tour, Decisions at Stones River is an indispensable primer, and readers looking for a digestible introduction to the Battle of Stones River can tour this sacred ground—or read about it at their leisure—with key insights into why events unfolded as they did and a deeper understanding of the Civil War itself.

Decisions at Stones River is the first in a series of books that will explore the critical decisions of major campaigns and battles of the Civil War

Matt Spruill is a retired U. S. Army colonel and Civil War historian and lecturer. A former Gettysburg licensed battlefield guide he is the author of seven previously Civil War books including most recently Decisions at Gettysburg: The Nineteen Critical Decisions That Defined the Campaign and Winter Lightning: A Guide to the Battle of Stones River, second edition.

Lee Spruill is a retired U. S. Army lieutenant colonel and a combat veteran of the campaign in Afghanistan. He is the author of two previous book, including most recently Winter Lightning: A Guide to the Battle of Stones River, second edition.

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