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William Starke Rosecrans (American National Biography)

Scholarship

Edward G. Longacre, "Rosecrans, William Starke," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/05/05-00676.html.

Despite the animosities he had engendered, Rosecrans parlayed his success at Corinth into command of the 99,000-man Army of the Ohio. He joined his force at Louisville on 30 October, renamed it the Army of the Cumberland, and strove to rejuvenate it after months of debilitating service in Tennessee and Kentucky. Within a few months, Rosecrans had resupplied every arm of his command, had upgraded the officer corps, and had improved unit training. Such actions raised the army's morale as well as its readiness and won "Old Rosy" the esteem and affection of the rank and file.

Rosecrans tested his revival program in late December, when he belatedly heeded War Department orders to challenge General Braxton Bragg's army in Middle Tennessee. On the last day of the year Rosecrans moved to strike Bragg's right flank across Stones River, near Murfreesboro, only to find his own right under attack. Refusing to panic, Rosecrans recalled his assault column and shored up his embattled flank. Despite teetering on the brink of defeat throughout the day, the Army of the Cumberland held on; two days later it survived a heavy assault against its left, forcing Bragg to abandon his strategic position. The victory made Rosecrans the most celebrated commander in the Union. He received the thanks of Congress, a brevet major generalship in the regular army, and highly placed offers of support should he seek political office. Abraham Lincoln personally thanked him for salvaging a victory, when "had there been a defeat instead, the Nation could scarcely have lived over."

How to Cite This Page: "William Starke Rosecrans (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/18611.