West Point in the Making of America

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Panels 1-11 | Panels 12-22 | Panels 23-32




Panel 1, Farewell to Home and Family
Panel 1   Farewell to Home and Family
Shortly after the end of the Civil War, at the request of former staff officers to General William Rosecrans, the artist Travis painted a series of panoramic scenes depicting the deeds of the Federal Army of the Cumberland in its campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee. And what better place to begin than with the young soldier’s farewell to home and family.



Panel 2, Army of the Cumberland
Panel 2   Army of the Cumberland
Rosecrans, in the center on the gray horse, took command of the Amy of the Cumberland on October 30, 1862. So far, he had shown himself to be a competent general and was popular with his officers and troops.



Panel 3, The Battle of Perryville
Panel 3   The Battle of Perryville
Just three weeks before Rosecrans took command, the Army had shown its mettle in halting the Confederate invasion of Kentucky, at the battle of Perryville. In saving Kentucky the Federal Army lost 4,000 men killed, wounded, and captured.



Panel 4, Confederates Retreat to Tennessee
Panel 4   Confederates Retreat to Tennessee
Although the northern forces were badly battered, their hard fight convinced General Braxton Bragg that Kentucky could not be won for the Confederacy. The disillusioned gray army tramped back toward Tennessee.



Panel 5, Burning Their Bridges
Panel 5   Burning Their Bridges
In their retreat through Tennessee, the Confederates burned their bridges behind them. When the Federal advance approached Nashville it found the railroad bridge over the Cumberland River in flames—a futile attempt to delay Rosecrans’s march into the city.



Panel 6, Planning for the Next Battle
Panel 6   Planning for the Next Battle
For a few weeks in the fall of 1862, the Army of the Cumberland lay in its camps around Nashville. General Rosecrans planned his next move against the Confederates who had concentrated around Murfreesboro on Stones River about 40 miles south of Nashville.



Panel 7, Attacking Union Supply Lines
Panel 7   Attacking Union Supply Lines
While both armies prepared for the next battle, there were sharp little fights when Confederate cavalry struck at the Federal supply lines. Wagon trains were a favorite target of the poorly supplied Southerners.



Panel 8, Blue Cavalry Advances
Panel 8   Blue Cavalry Advances
At the beginning of 1863 the main armies collided at Stones River and once again the Confederates were thrown back. Federal cavalry kept up the pressure with strong raids against outlying Southern positions. Early in February Blue cavalry defeated Confederate horsemen operating near Franklin, Tennessee.



Panel 9, Emancipating the Slaves
Panel 9   Emancipating the Slaves
The Army of the Cumberland’s advance into Tennessee spelled freedom to the slaves who fled to the protection of Mr. Lincoln’s soldiers and gunboats. Ironically, the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1, 1863, applied only to slaves in territory still held by the Confederates.



Panel 10, Battle of Stones River
Panel 10   Battle of Stones River
The battle of Stones River sealed the doom of Confederate efforts to hold middle Tennessee. From December 31, 1862 to January 3, 1863, the two armies struggled for control of the wintry battlefield near Murfreesboro. At first the attacking Confederates seemed about to win a smashing victory.



Panel 11, The Fight for Middle Tennessee
Panel 11   The Fight for Middle Tennessee
The Federal right flank was thrown back, but the Army of the Cumberland recovered from the first shock of the attack and managed to hold its ground. Rosecrans himself galloped about the field, organizing the defense, which beat back the southerners.



Panels 1-11 | Panels 12-22 | Panels 23-32



Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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