Murfreesboro, a city and the capital of Rutherford co., Tennessee, situated near the centre of the state, on an elevated and healthy plain bounded E. by the Cumberland mountains, on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad, 32 m. S. E. of Nashville; pop. in 1870, 3,502, of whom 1,805 were colored. It is regularly laid out, lighted with gas, and well built, principally of brick. The court house is large and handsome, and stands in the centre of the public square. Being surrounded by a fertile and thickly settled country, the city has an important trade, especially in cotton and grain. It contains two national banks, a manufactory of cedar ware, an extensive saw mill, a cotton gin manufactory, a pork-packing establishment, several cotton gins and grist mills, carriage factories, etc. There are four public school departments, two for white and two for colored children, a private school, a female institute, the Soule female college under the patronage of the Methodists, two weekly newspapers, and ten churches (four colored). Murfreesboro was the seat of Union university, founded by the Baptist educational society in 1848, but now suspended. In the immediate vicinity of the city are the Tennessee central fair grounds, occupying 20 acres handsomely improved.
Near by are a large national cemetery, beautifully laid out and decorated, containing a monument to those who fell in the battle of Murfreesboro, and a confederate cemetery. - The town was established in 1811, and incorporated in 1817. The state legislature met here from 1819 to 1825. Early in the summer of 1862 it was occupied by a small Union force. On July 13 it was captured by the confederates under Forrest, a Michigan regiment being made prisoners. Soon after Gen. Bragg made it the centre of his operations in Tennessee, having about 50,000 men, of whom nearly a third were cavalry. Late in November Gen. Rosecrans moved from Nashville with about 40,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, and took up a strong position near Murfreesboro. For nearly a month the two armies lay watching each other. At length Bragg sent the greater part of his cavalry to operate against the lines of communication of Rosecrans, who thereupon took the offensive. Skirmishing began on Dec. 26, but the main engagements took place Dec. 31, 1862, and Jan. 2, 1863. The action of Dec. 31 was severe but indecisive. On Jan. 2 the confederate forces made one more vigorous attack. Bragg was finally repelled, and on the 4th he abandoned Murfreesboro, of which Rosecrans took possession next day.
He fortified the place, and made it his depot of supplies, remaining there for six months, after which he advanced toward Chattanooga, whither Bragg had fallen back. The battle of Murfreesboro, commonly called that of Stone River, was, in proportion to the numbers engaged, one of the most bloody of the war. Bragg says he had 35,000 men engaged, and that the Union force was about 70,000. Rosecrans puts his force at 43,000, estimating that of the confederates at 62,000. The Union loss was 1,553 killed, about 7,000 wounded, and 3,000 prisoners. Bragg puts his entire loss at about 10.000.