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Stan Hutson

Mona and Stones River

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All,

I know this is a Shiloh board, but, a little "after action report".  Mona was in my neck of the woods here at Stones River and I was able to give her a tour of the battlefield.  A little insert here, if anyone is ever in the area and wants a tour, let me know and I will be glad to show you around.

I guess this is also a, "Shiloh is lucky" moment.  I was not happy to report to Mona, well, telling her, "don't get too excited, this ain't Shiloh".  Tragically, in the 1890's there was a desire to create a National Military Park at Stones River almost as large as Shiloh.  The move would have created a park of roughly 3,100 acres.  Today, I think we roughly have 700 acres.  Size wise, what the park has today is roughly, for a Shiloh comparison, Grant's last line, extending out to Cloud Field and over to the main battlefield entrance today.  

Similar to Shiloh, we had to drive through the battlefield to get to the area where the battle started.  Stones River battlefield, is, well, it is gone.  I lived in Murfreesboro 17 years ago, and since that time this battlefield has been paved over.  When I say paved over, Stones Rivers' versions of the Peach Orchard, Rea Field, Fraley Field, Duncan Field, Jones Field, the Hornet's Nest, where most of the major fighting took place, is no more.  I-24 goes through the heart of that area now.  Cleburne's men attacked where Interstate 24 now exists.  To the east of 24, it is now Walmart, an expanding hospital, hotels, places to eat, you get the picture.  Even the last few open areas/fields are being developed at this very moment.  The spot where General Sill was killed is now a bank, and across the street roughly 10 acres are being bulldozed for new construction.  So many tons of dirt have been moved, that what the area originally looked like, versus now, well, there is no comparison.  Small hills area bulldozed flat, so the terrain is just totally different.

The area known as the Slaughter Pen, well, the park has half of it, on the other side of the road, a hospital expansion, and a soon to be 4 lane road.  

In the map attached, where it says Roberts(Bradley), marked by the X, I was lucky enough to make several evening/nighttime trips last fall (with permission), and found the bullets and canister you see.  The mound of dirt I am standing by, I found a Williams Cleaner bullet in the pile, I just eyeballed it laying there.  The pile itself was literally 2 stories high.  Dropped bullets, fired bullets, artillery shell fragments, percussion caps, you name it, lots of stuff came from that area.  People were finding tons of bullets just laying on top of the ground once the bulldozer went through.

At Shiloh, we know almost exactly where specific regiments went through.  At Stones River, because of the destruction, you can only form vague generalities.  There is a Blue/Gray magazine with an in depth article, and tons of maps, about Stones River.  But, because of people metal detecting, and relics found including a Mississippi button, the maps in the magazine appear to be incorrect.  Not off by a lot, but off by up to 300 meters or more in some spots.  Heavy traffic in the area makes stopping to get out and look difficult as Mona can testify to for sure.  Sadly, I think we are just a generation or two away from a time when nobody will have much of an idea of where actions took place.  Somewhat like, "well, so and so troops passed through this area at this intersection by the gas station, or, it could have been down 3 blocks by the McDonald's, we just don't know."

I was able to show her some areas off the park where we know exactly how troops moved.  And, naturally, you can see with good confidence where troops moved within the park.  Other areas, with no places to pull over, you have to "tell the story" as you drive by, but again those are mainly off park property.  I was able to show her 2 houses, still standing, that were used as field hospitals.  

But, we had a good time for sure.  I tell you, we are lucky to have Shiloh so intact!

Stan    

IMG_0764.JPG

finding a williams cleaner bullet at the Slaughter Pen Murfreesboro (2).jpg

IMG_0772.JPG

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I forgot to add, last year I was able to show Mike Talplacido around.  He was able to take pictures of some spots, that, even since then, are now bulldozed.  I reckon he preserved history without knowing it, as some of the pictures he took are no doubt the last photos ever taken of a "this is what it looked like" nature.

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And if you are wondering why the larger park was never created.  Other National Military Parks had just been created, so the impetus to create yet another one fizzled away and was never realized.

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One last clarification.  Where the Mississippi button was found, as far as I can tell, only 2 Mississippi units were in that area.  But, where the button was found, versus how the maps show troop movements including those Mississippians, to myself and some others it seems to be off by at least a brigade battle line front.

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I had the chance to visit the battlefield back in 1983 but even then there was a housing development butting right up against the park. A year ago I had the opportunity to travel from Chambersburg Pennsylvania to Gettysburg following Lee's route, which I enjoyed very much, but honestly I was thrown off by Gettysburg, I didn't get to see everything due to time constraints, but I almost wish I had never gone there.

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On 3/7/2018 at 11:12 PM, Stan Hutson said:

I forgot to add, last year I was able to show Mike Talplacido around.  He was able to take pictures of some spots, that, even since then, are now bulldozed.  I reckon he preserved history without knowing it, as some of the pictures he took are no doubt the last photos ever taken of a "this is what it looked like" nature.

it would intersting to take Mike"s photos and do a "then and now"series...

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4 hours ago, mona said:

it would intersting to take Mike"s photos and do a "then and now"series...

Yes it would.  The picture Mike posted.  The field on the upper left is now gone.  Mike's picture actually doesn't do the area justice, but in a bad way.  It looks "green", when in actuality most of the area is gone.  To the left in Mike's picture is the bank, where the Harding house stood, and where General Sill was killed.

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20 hours ago, Stan Hutson said:

Yes it would.  The picture Mike posted.  The field on the upper left is now gone.  Mike's picture actually doesn't do the area justice, but in a bad way.  It looks "green", when in actuality most of the area is gone.  To the left in Mike's picture is the bank, where the Harding house stood, and where General Sill was killed.

i was trying to figure out which intersection that was...doesnt look that way now..does it.

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On 3/7/2018 at 11:08 PM, Stan Hutson said:

All,

I know this is a Shiloh board, but, a little "after action report".  Mona was in my neck of the woods here at Stones River and I was able to give her a tour of the battlefield.  A little insert here, if anyone is ever in the area and wants a tour, let me know and I will be glad to show you around.

I guess this is also a, "Shiloh is lucky" moment.  I was not happy to report to Mona, well, telling her, "don't get too excited, this ain't Shiloh".  Tragically, in the 1890's there was a desire to create a National Military Park at Stones River almost as large as Shiloh.  The move would have created a park of roughly 3,100 acres.  Today, I think we roughly have 700 acres.  Size wise, what the park has today is roughly, for a Shiloh comparison, Grant's last line, extending out to Cloud Field and over to the main battlefield entrance today.  

Similar to Shiloh, we had to drive through the battlefield to get to the area where the battle started.  Stones River battlefield, is, well, it is gone.  I lived in Murfreesboro 17 years ago, and since that time this battlefield has been paved over.  When I say paved over, Stones Rivers' versions of the Peach Orchard, Rea Field, Fraley Field, Duncan Field, Jones Field, the Hornet's Nest, where most of the major fighting took place, is no more.  I-24 goes through the heart of that area now.  Cleburne's men attacked where Interstate 24 now exists.  To the east of 24, it is now Walmart, an expanding hospital, hotels, places to eat, you get the picture.  Even the last few open areas/fields are being developed at this very moment.  The spot where General Sill was killed is now a bank, and across the street roughly 10 acres are being bulldozed for new construction.  So many tons of dirt have been moved, that what the area originally looked like, versus now, well, there is no comparison.  Small hills area bulldozed flat, so the terrain is just totally different.

The area known as the Slaughter Pen, well, the park has half of it, on the other side of the road, a hospital expansion, and a soon to be 4 lane road.  

In the map attached, where it says Roberts(Bradley), marked by the X, I was lucky enough to make several evening/nighttime trips last fall (with permission), and found the bullets and canister you see.  The mound of dirt I am standing by, I found a Williams Cleaner bullet in the pile, I just eyeballed it laying there.  The pile itself was literally 2 stories high.  Dropped bullets, fired bullets, artillery shell fragments, percussion caps, you name it, lots of stuff came from that area.  People were finding tons of bullets just laying on top of the ground once the bulldozer went through.

At Shiloh, we know almost exactly where specific regiments went through.  At Stones River, because of the destruction, you can only form vague generalities.  There is a Blue/Gray magazine with an in depth article, and tons of maps, about Stones River.  But, because of people metal detecting, and relics found including a Mississippi button, the maps in the magazine appear to be incorrect.  Not off by a lot, but off by up to 300 meters or more in some spots.  Heavy traffic in the area makes stopping to get out and look difficult as Mona can testify to for sure.  Sadly, I think we are just a generation or two away from a time when nobody will have much of an idea of where actions took place.  Somewhat like, "well, so and so troops passed through this area at this intersection by the gas station, or, it could have been down 3 blocks by the McDonald's, we just don't know."

I was able to show her some areas off the park where we know exactly how troops moved.  And, naturally, you can see with good confidence where troops moved within the park.  Other areas, with no places to pull over, you have to "tell the story" as you drive by, but again those are mainly off park property.  I was able to show her 2 houses, still standing, that were used as field hospitals.  

But, we had a good time for sure.  I tell you, we are lucky to have Shiloh so intact!

Stan    

IMG_0764.JPG

finding a williams cleaner bullet at the Slaughter Pen Murfreesboro (2).jpg

IMG_0772.JPG

ive tried to reply to this many times and it wont load so im going this way...yall  if you even have a slight desire to visit stones river nmp  do so asap...it is disappearing before one's eye. Stan does an exceptional guided tour and really helps you "see" the battlefield/action despite all the development..it is dicey in some spots to pull over and look over the grounds..but you will not get out.. it is a forever lost...yall can read/study upon this battle and get out there and if you dont have Stan...you will be lost and confused...i thank you forever stan for the guided tour...there i absolutely no interpretation of the battle...and locations about...i think mufreesboro really missed an tremedous opportunity for the tourism dollars by allowing this to happen instead the want roads condos hotels,strip malls,homes(which i hope have ghosts),counrty club. dollars.we are SO fortunate to have our Shiloh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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On 3/13/2018 at 3:13 PM, mona said:

ive tried to reply to this many times and it wont load so im going this way...yall  if you even have a slight desire to visit stones river nmp  do so asap...it is disappearing before one's eye. Stan does an exceptional guided tour and really helps you "see" the battlefield/action despite all the development..it is dicey in some spots to pull over and look over the grounds..but you will not get out.. it is a forever lost...yall can read/study upon this battle and get out there and if you dont have Stan...you will be lost and confused...i thank you forever stan for the guided tour...there i absolutely no interpretation of the battle...and locations about...i think mufreesboro really missed an tremedous opportunity for the tourism dollars by allowing this to happen instead the want roads condos hotels,strip malls,homes(which i hope have ghosts),counrty club. dollars.we are SO fortunate to have our Shiloh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the kind words Mona.  But, you are right, if anyone wants to see it before it is totally gone, you have less than 2 years.  After that, the last few remnants of where most of the battle was fought, beyond the park boundaries, will be gone for good.  At that point, well, trying to really pin down where fighting took place, good luck with that.  But, yep, liberally I give it about 5 years, and that is it, what is left will be gone forever.

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On 3/13/2018 at 3:13 PM, mona said:

ive tried to reply to this many times and it wont load so im going this way...yall  if you even have a slight desire to visit stones river nmp  do so asap...it is disappearing before one's eye. Stan does an exceptional guided tour and really helps you "see" the battlefield/action despite all the development..it is dicey in some spots to pull over and look over the grounds..but you will not get out.. it is a forever lost...yall can read/study upon this battle and get out there and if you dont have Stan...you will be lost and confused...i thank you forever stan for the guided tour...there i absolutely no interpretation of the battle...and locations about...i think mufreesboro really missed an tremedous opportunity for the tourism dollars by allowing this to happen instead the want roads condos hotels,strip malls,homes(which i hope have ghosts),counrty club. dollars.we are SO fortunate to have our Shiloh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mona,

You remember the pile of dirt (the same one I found the relics in).  Where the guy is standing in this video is now gone.  A building has gone up there just since last September.  Good video.  The area where he is standing, up to the road behind him, totally unrecognizable now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feDY1Qp6ZI4

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12 hours ago, Stan Hutson said:

Mona,

You remember the pile of dirt (the same one I found the relics in).  Where the guy is standing in this video is now gone.  A building has gone up there just since last September.  Good video.  The area where he is standing, up to the road behind him, totally unrecognizable now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feDY1Qp6ZI4

is that nashville pike or wilkerson rd  behind him?? im trying to figure out where he's at??is this where the pile of dirt came from? i can see a snake fence in the back.looks like an old home place by the big cedars along the lane...also one more reason to come..it will just get more and more dangerous to even drive and try to find these locations..

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On 3/15/2018 at 1:11 PM, mona said:

is that nashville pike or wilkerson rd  behind him?? im trying to figure out where he's at??is this where the pile of dirt came from? i can see a snake fence in the back.looks like an old home place by the big cedars along the lane...also one more reason to come..it will just get more and more dangerous to even drive and try to find these locations..

Wilkinson.  Yes, where he is standing is now the building.  The pile of dirt is to the back left of the cameraman.

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23 hours ago, mtalplacido said:

I wish I would had more time there last summer.

Yeah Mike, if you ever manage to get back this way, it will have changed even more since then.  I hate to see the 4 lane going in on the edge of the battlefield, but it is a done deal.  It is going to be a terrible eyesore.  

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17 hours ago, Stan Hutson said:

Yeah Mike, if you ever manage to get back this way, it will have changed even more since then.  I hate to see the 4 lane going in on the edge of the battlefield, but it is a done deal.  It is going to be a terrible eyesore.  

stan..have you heard when they will begin? you'll need to check the pile of dirt before the use it as fill...no telling what will be found in the roadbed...

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7 hours ago, mona said:

stan..have you heard when they will begin? you'll need to check the pile of dirt before the use it as fill...no telling what will be found in the roadbed...

I think it will be a few years out yet.  Not sure, haven't heard any solid word, but would love to, they WILL find tons of relics in the front yards of those houses for sure, as that is basically half of the Slaughter Pen.  

On 3/18/2018 at 8:55 PM, mtalplacido said:

I wish I would had more time there last summer.

Yeah Mike, if you ever manage to get back this way, it will have changed even more since then.  I hate to see the 4 lane going in on the edge of the battlefield, but it is a done deal.  It is going to be a terrible eyesore.  

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