As Union soldiers crouched here behind the breastworks of stone and rail, a battered advance division retreated back across the river, pursued by General John C. Breckinridge's hard-driving Confederate brigades. Union artillery batteries firing from the rise above McFadden's Ford halted Breckinridge's pursuit with shot, shell, and canister. Some 1,800 Confederates were killed or wounded in less than an hour. This was the final action of the Battle of Stones River.
W.J. Worsham of the 19th Tennessee Infantry took part in the Battle of Stones River. An event that occurred before the battle at McFadden's Ford, impressive in its sentimental implications was related by Dr. Worsham in later years.
Our line ran principally through the cedars and rocks, and this cold winter evening when all nature presented a dreary outlook, this thick landscape seemed to cast a double mantle of dreariness over everything. Here, an incident occurred in which both armies took part, and which is not often recorded in the history of battles. After the bands had finished their usual evening serenade, a Federal band struck up slowly and softly "Home, Sweet Home." Immediately a Confederate band caught up the song, then one after another until all the bands of both armies were playing the strain.
Out in the darkness of this cold December night, amidst the dense cedars and rough boulders along the banks of Stone River,
"Whose sad, slow stream, its noiseless flood
Poured o'er the glancing pebbles
All silent now, the Federals stood,
All silent stood the Rebels.
No heart or soul had heard unmoved
That plaintive note's appealing,
So sweetly, 'Home, Sweet Home' but stirred
The hidden fount of feeling."I tell you this was a soul stirring occasion. During the stillness of the night, each soldier of both armies thought of what tomorrow would bring, whether wounds or death, and would he ever see his home again, when the notes of this inspiring tune came floating on the stillness of the night. After our bands had ceased playing, we could hear the sweet refrain as it died away in the cool, frosty air of the Federal side. What a thrill of memories was brought to the minds of all that night!
Horn, Tennessee's War, 1861-1865
(Tennessee Civil War Centennial Commission)