Stones River has received very little attention for a battle its size and for one that had the impact that it did with its connection to the Emancipation Proclamation. It was a savage little engagement with the loss of several promising commanders on both sides, and its one of those that I want to address today, Brigadier General James Edward Rains.
Rains commanded a brigade in John McCowan's division. Rains was born April 10, 1833 in Nashville, the son of the Rev. John Rains. Rains grew up working in his father's saddlery and by the age of Seventeen had but five months of formal education, but he was finally able to get a private tutor and then move on to attend the Washington Academy and stayed one term before obtaining $400 to enter Yale. Rains entered the Law School as a sophomore as in 1851. Rains advanced rapidly through the class and graduated second in the Class of 1854. After graduation he returned home and found employment as the headmaster of the Millwood Academy in nearby Cheatham County, a position he would hold for two years before entering the Law profession. In 1857 he entered the realm of politics, and campaigned strongly against future governor, Isham Harris. After the election became the associate editor of the Daily Republican Banner, whose editor was future Confederate General, Felix Zollicoffer. In this position he remained active in local politics and a voice of opposition to the secession movement in Tennessee.