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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
11/30/2020 7:50:47 AM
This being the last day of November, I must mention this notorious battle.

The Battle of Franklin is cited as one of the most tragic episodes in a war that stands as America's supreme tragedy.

Is there anything new that has been published or screened that might change our interpretation of this battle ?

Has there been an attempt at "revisionism" ?

I know that one of John Bell Hood's descendants has written a history of his generalship that makes a vigorous refutation of the caricature that is usually summoned up.

I've discovered an online site called Tenn in 20, which is focused primarily on the story of Tennessee's Civil War, and has a lot about Franklin.

Perhaps today's date will inspire me to take another look.

In the meantime, please pitch in and offer thoughts and comments.

Regards, Phil



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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/16/2020 5:26:41 PM
No takers on this one, then.....

Let me say, though, that I've been guilty of buying books which I don't read. One such is for CAUSE for COUNTRY A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. This is the work of Eric A Jacobson, with co-author Richard A Rupp.

It was published in 2008 and has remained on my shelves for several years with nothing much more than a cursory glance by me. Now I've remedied that, and I must say that it's a very compelling work indeed. Most emphatically recommended. High standard of scholarship combined with real visceral impact.

Reading about horrible battles is always harrowing ; but this one transcends. I can honestly say that I think the word " grotesque" applies to the Battle of Franklin.


Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/17/2020 7:13:25 PM
Hi Phil,

I'm sorry that no one commented on the controversial lopsided Battle of Franklin! Certainly not a good battle for the Confederates, poor general ship?! I just missed seeing it!? I'm sure other CW posters will chime in?

Certainly a battle worth discussing!?

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/18/2020 3:52:01 AM
Thanks, Dave !

Kind of you to support the thread.

Would love to read what people make of this battle.

The story of the special Confederate cemetery there is certainly something.

Civil War historians and commentators indulge in a war of superlatives. The regiment with the highest losses ; the battle which cost more lives than all previous American wars put together ; the greatest slaughter in the shortest time ; the most lopsided carnage ; the most futile and hopeless attack etc. etc.....

Franklin offers a lot here. Just a quick glance at some of the accounts and you'll see authors determined to demonstrate how the southern charge at Franklin was deadlier and more forlorn than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. How reliable are the claims about Franklin ?

There is always scope for revision : Franklin also invites this, too.

Be it carnage or controversy - or even a conflation of both - there is indeed a lot to discuss about this battle.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/18/2020 8:15:12 PM
No problem Phil,

Shoot, I'll make some comments. It seems that Gen JB Hood & the AOT were trying to divert Sherman's Attacks on Georgia. But Hood used poor judgement in attacking fortified positions at Franklin, TN.. His frontal attack was worse & larger than Pickets Charge at Gettysburg! He had 6,252 Casualties, including 1,750 dead while the Union had only 189 killed! He was worried that this Union force would hook up with the other Union forces near Nashville, so he threw caution to the wind. More Confederate generals were killed during this engagement than any other CW battle! The battle went so bad for the Army of Tennessee it almost ruined the effectiveness of the Army of Tennessee? After this fiasco Gen. John Bell Hood's commanding days were over!?

Just a few generalities, but you get the idea!
Some good articles, & web sites out there, on it.
Could you post a few, & comment,
My tablet won't let me post them?

What say ya'll??
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Gregory C. White
Canton GA USA
Posts: 328
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/18/2020 9:11:09 PM
I have nothing to add to this conversation, other than I am planning a journey to Franklin, hopefully
in the new year after normalcy (?) has returned. Such a fascinating story and so much carnage and
loss of life !

I've often wondered what the actual Confederate losses were. After Sherman's capture of Atlanta and so
much emphasis and speculation on his whereabouts during the march to Savannah, Georgia newspapers
are woefully scant on casualty lists from Franklin, unlike other major battles earlier in the war. Michigan Dave
said above "it almost ruined the effectiveness of the Army of Tennessee." Based on what I've read the AOT
was so reduced in leadership and manpower, it was pretty much of a non-factor for the remainder of the war.

Best Regards,

Greg


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“Any society which suppresses the heritage of its conquered minorities, prevent their history, and denies them their symbols, has sown the seeds of its destruction.” Sir William Wallace, 1280 A.D.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/19/2020 4:21:20 AM
Quote:
No problem Phil,

Shoot, I'll make some comments. It seems that Gen JB Hood & the AOT were trying to divert Sherman's Attacks on Georgia. But Hood used poor judgement in attacking fortified positions at Franklin, TN.. His frontal attack was worse & larger than Pickets Charge at Gettysburg! He had 6,252 Casualties, including 1,750 dead while the Union had only 189 killed! He was worried that this Union force would hook up with the other Union forces near Nashville, so he threw caution to the wind. More Confederate generals were killed during this engagement than any other CW battle! The battle went so bad for the Army of Tennessee it almost ruined the effectiveness of the Army of Tennessee? After this fiasco Gen. John Bell Hood's commanding days were over!?

Just a few generalities, but you get the idea!
Some good articles, & web sites out there, on it.
Could you post a few, & comment,
My tablet won't let me post them?

What say ya'll??
MD


Dave and Greg,

Thanks so much for coming to my rescue here !

The story of Franklin has really got to me, and in my agitation it’s good to be able to share my thoughts.

Beware those Union casualty figures ! The official return of 189 killed is deceptive : remember that virtually half of the yankee casualty list of 2,326 was posted as missing in action, and we can be absolutely certain that a significant number of these men had been killed, too. The Union army withdrew in haste overnight, leaving behind its dead and wounded, and in those circumstances their dead could not be properly accounted for. There has been some recent and meticulous research into the records of the yankee units that fought in the battle, and the best count suggests that about 480 union soldiers were killed or mortally wounded in the battle. We might make a reasonable guess here and reckon on 300-325 killed outright, and 150-180 died of wounds in the aftermath of the fight.

What were the rebel losses ? We have the report of Schofield himself, who returned to the battlefield a couple of weeks later and stated that 1,750 confederate graves were counted. After the war, nearly fifteen hundred southern dead were exhumed and reinterred in the McGavock Cemetery on the Carnton Estate : obviously, if Schofield was exaggerating , it was not by much. He also alluded to 3,800 rebel wounded remaining in the hospitals at Franklin, and 702 southern prisoners who had been taken to Nashville....hence the generally cited figure of 6,252 confederate casualties. This is not an official southern return, but anecdotal reporting from an enemy commander. How circumspect should we be ?

Hood himself stated that his loss in the battle was 4,500. The Union general Cox, who fought in the battle, suggested that, allowing for slight wounds, the true figure would be 8,000. Mid way between those two gives us a figure of 6,250.....a nice compliance with Schofield’s report.

The important thing to emphasise is that the 1,750 confederate graves he counted would have included rebels who died of wounds in the two weeks after the battle, and if the same criterion is applied to the Yankees , we’re contemplating nearly 500 northern dead once we allow for their missing who had been killed and their mortally wounded : a ratio of roughly three and one half to one against the South in terms of fatalities.

I allude to Northerners and Southerners here......but there was a tragic dimension in the story of the men from Border States who fought each other at Franklin. Kentuckians and Missourians fought on both sides in the battle, and in the close quarters combat that was so intense at Franklin, there must have been some grotesque episodes of divided loyalty.

Yes, that word “ grotesque “ again....it really works here.

And what of Hood’s conduct ? Grotesque ? Yes, I suppose so.

I’m tempted to suggest that it would have been better for the Confederacy , and for Hood himself , if he had perished from his Chickamauga wound. His record thereto had been superb.

More to come.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/19/2020 7:12:48 AM
Greg and Dave,

Having spent the best part of one hour composing one of the most heartfelt and painstaking posts I think I've ever made, only to see the entire thing disappear, I reckon I can better understand how Hood might have felt after the lost opportunity of Spring Hill !

Therein, I daresay, lies the key to understanding his conduct at Franklin.

I'll recover my equilibrium, help Lynn with shopping, and return.

I want to pick up what I've lost.

This battle engages the emotions as much as it does the intellect.

Another attribute of John Bell Hood ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/19/2020 9:42:20 AM
Back again, to complete unfinished business.

Who said " I shall return" ? Was it Doug McArthur ? If so, very fitting, since his dad participated in the hottest fighting of this battle, being shot and wounded by a rebel officer whom he immediately ran through with his sword. You don't read of this happening too often, do you ? This was certainly a feature - another grotesque one - of the Battle of Franklin : intense and vicious close quarters combat.

Let me pitch a statistical comparison of Franklin with its oft cited Gettysburg counterpart, Pickett's Charge....by which I mean the PPT action, of course.

At Gettysburg, twelve or thirteen thousand rebels advanced across one mile of open ground. At Franklin, about twenty thousand advanced over two miles of equally open ground. At Gettysburg, the rebels deployed one of the biggest artillery barrages of the war ; at Franklin, there was very little artillery at hand to help the southerners. The advancing confederates at Gettysburg outnumbered the defending yankees by about two to one in the immediate vicinity ; at Franklin, the yankees were present in equal numbers to their assailants. The yankees who held the position at Cemetery Ridge were availed of a small stone wall, while their Franklin counterparts had consolidated a most formidable defensive position, with earthworks and artillery fully prepared and able to exploit the panoramic terrain to deadly advantage.

On the face of it, Franklin was the more desperate and forlorn venture.

The casualties, though, are uncannily similar.

The PPT action cost the South 6,580 casualties ; Franklin, 6,252, if we adopt Schofield's report. The yankees suffered 2,332 casualties in the PPT attack; at Franklin they suffered 2,326.

The reason is significant : the mad deployment of Wagner's two brigades, isolated and " in the air" in an exposed position a long way out in front of the Union position, gave Hood's men a lucky chance to smash this deployment and pursue the fleeing yankees into the Union works. Eye witnesses reported seeing scores of the terrified bluecoated fugitives being shot, bayoneted and clubbed to the ground : worse still, the routed federals obscured the field of fire of their comrades, allowing the attackers to get into their position and press the fighting to close quarters. This initial triumph, however, was to prove the rebels' undoing.
A furious and determined counter attack stopped the rebels in a fight that was hand to hand and of unimaginable intensity. The attacking confederates were effectively pinned down in a killing ground, where they faced concentrated and converging firepower at point blank range. Their predicament has been described as the worst ever faced by soldiers in that war, which, when you think of Fredericksburg or Cold Harbor, is saying a lot. Another grotesque feature of the battle is the loss of Hood's high ranking officers, who shared their men's fate and literally " died in the ditch" with them.

This battle certainly combined the grandeur of Pickett's Charge with the grisly horrors of Spotsylvania.

Once the yankees had stabilised the position, the battle became a massacre. The rebels faced some yankee units that were equipped with repeating rifles. Artillery compounded the effect.

A large number of wounded southerners were repeatedly hit by so many bullets that the proportion of killed among the casualties was grotesquely high. Normally, about seventeen per cent of men who were shot in the civil war's battles were killed outright. At Franklin, the ratio was far more deadly. One of the Confederate brigades that made a report was Cockrell's Missouri Brigade. Taking 696 men into the battle, it reported 98 killed, 229 wounded and 92 missing, sixty per cent of the entire command. A southern private from that brigade assisted in burying his dead comrades the next morning, and wrote that 119 of his fellow Missourians were laid in one long grave between the infamous cotton gin and the Columbia Pike. The McGavock cemetery contains the remains of 130 who are identified as from Missouri, and there are surely more interred in a plot for the " Unknowns".

This brings me to another grotesque attribute of this battle : the participation of men from the Border States who fought against each other. Missourians and Kentuckians were prominent here. The 44th Missouri was the Union regiment that stands as the supreme example. It took the full brunt of the hand to hand fighting that I alluded to earlier, and its casualties attest the nature of the combat : 34 killed, 37 wounded and 92 missing. There were scores of dead yankees counted around the porch of the Carter House....most of them, maybe all, would have been posted as missing rather than confirmed as killed in the Union casualty figures.

Please let me know if you visit the McGavock Cemetery, Greg.

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/19/2020 1:10:49 PM
Hi Phil, & Greg,

I can see what you mean about the Battle of Franklin being so horrific! If they made it into a movie you would think it had to be science fiction! Here the American National Battlefield trust does a good job portraying it!? What say you about their take? Also feel free to post other facts & info about this deadly encounter!?

[Read More]

[Read More]

I enjoy how threads like this, on Franklin, because it causes us to dig deeper!

Greg, be sure to send pics and info if you do visit the battlefield, I hear they are reclaiming acreage including what used to be a Pizza Hut, Pepperoni anyone?!

Stay safe, & regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/19/2020 7:24:22 PM
Had it not been for their initial tantalising success, would the rebels have abandoned their attacks and avoided the terrible loss of life that they suffered ? They would surely have been repulsed with loss, but not to the catastrophic extent that actually occurred.

Perhaps the same question might be asked about Gettysburg. Here, too, an imprudent yankee deployment left a significant force exposed to envelopment and destruction, as Sickles pushed his corps forward and was overwhelmed as Wagner's two brigades were to be at Franklin. The failure of Pickett was attributable in some degree to the promise of partial success achieved on day two.

I'm trying to imagine what those southern troops must have felt as they went forward against those enemy works at Franklin. They themselves had slaughtered yankee attackers at New Hope Church and Kennesaw from the cover of their defences : they were now going forward against even more formidable works.

No one could have been more aware of this than Cleburne, who had exacted such a toll from the northern troops he had repulsed six months earlier. Now he himself was to pay the price.

If Wagner's men had not been out there in front, the rebel attack would have been so quickly and decisively repulsed that the thing might have been stopped after the loss of a couple of thousand men, rather than the five or six thousand that were actually cut down. I'm musing here, and have to admit that it's not going to sound convincing to everyone !


Regards, Phil





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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/20/2020 6:41:10 AM
Let me pitch another idea about the grotesque nature of the battle.

Opdycke disagreed with his immediate superior, Wagner, and blatantly disobeyed his orders to deploy his brigade in front of the main position.

In so doing, he made a very important contribution to saving the Union army, because he was able and willing to launch that crucial counter attack and restore the line.

In the confederate camp, the generals were dismayed at the order to attack, but did so all the same.

Victory gained through disobedience ; defeat brought about by obedience ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/20/2020 11:49:43 AM
Hi Phil,

Your right on how Opdycke's counter attack, & the fact that so many Confederate Generals were killed in the attack hurt the Confederate momentum, & leadership at the height of the battle. It had to have a negative effect on Hood's troops!? Nathan Bedford Forest, like Long street at Gettysburg tried to dissuade Hood from making this frontal assault! Once committed there was no stopping Hood from executing it!?

What say you?
MD

BTW what major Confederate Generals were killed??
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/20/2020 2:49:28 PM
Dave,

It’s really an astonishing twist, isn’t it ?

There was Hood, at Gettysburg, desperately arguing for a flanking manoeuvre as an alternative to the orders : he was told to obey orders and go to it.

Seventeen months later, there’s a complete reversal : there’s Hood, insisting on pressing home a frontal attack, while one of his most able subordinates pleas for a flanking alternative and is being denied.

Who would dare to make this up ?

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/21/2020 6:43:52 AM
Try as I might, I just can't let go of this Franklin thing.


It's almost as if I were pinned down in front of the yankee breastworks, witnessing the massacre of my comrades.

It's not just the numbers of Hood's men who were killed there : it's also the quality of those superb fighting men, squandered in a thoroughly futile affair.

No fewer than sixty eight of the higher command echelon of the Army of Tennessee - regimental commanders and above - were killed, wounded or captured, fourteen of them generals. Of the 68 , twenty were confirmed as killed or mortally wounded, six of them generals. I suppose that I ought to take a look at the cadre of confederate officers who fought in the PPT action at Gettysburg, and see how it compared .

As for Hood himself, one has to try and empathise with his motives. He gained his reputation as the proponent of using shock troops who were disciplined and motivated to hit hard in head on battle. Gaines' Mill, almost exactly two and a half years before Franklin, stands as his monument. The yankee earthworks were stormed at bayonet point in a manner that impressed even Stonewall Jackson. Hood did it again in crushing style at Second Manassas, and yet again in desperate circumstances in the Cornfield at Sharpsburg. Despite his misgivings, his men meted out brutal damage to the Federals when his division attacked on Day Two at Gettysburg. If further proof were needed, we need look no further than Chickamauga. With an arm and a leg sacrificed to his cause, he must have felt profoundly frustrated under Joe Johnston's command in Georgia, even to the point that he intrigued in a manner that was, frankly, disgraceful. Good grief, what was it about the Western Theatre that inspired such unedifying conduct in both armies ?
At Franklin itself, the yankees were displaying this : Wagner and Opdyke, both fierce fighters with ungovernable tempers, were shouting at each other in a manner that shocked the officers and men who witnessed it. Indeed, it was Opdyke's insubordination that saved the day : had he obeyed Wagner his men would have been swallowed up in the initial rebel attack and would not have been available to mount that dramatic counter attack.

For Hood to have seen his dream opportunity bungled away at Spring Hill must have been an intolerable business. He wanted to redeem that with another Gaines' Mill moment. Note the instructions he gave : hold your fire until you have gained the enemy lines, and only shoot when you see them running. It had worked before.

The calibre of the men in the rebel ranks was such as to justify his expectations. As to whether he underestimated his foe.....?

An interesting anecdote comes to mind about rebel sharpshooters. There was a little hill called Privet Knob several hundred yards in front of the yankee lines, and in the hours before the big attack a unit of sharpshooters armed with the coveted British manufactured Whitworth Rifles were busy picking off federal cannoneers . They were eminently successful, shooting down seven at long range, aided by the telescopic sights on their rifles. Think of Sedgwick at Spotsylvania and his famous last words ! The yankee gunners, with their rifled guns, retaliated by firing at the hill. How strange that such a Napoleonic style of assault should be preceded by fighting that had attributes of more modern warfare !


Incidentally, the very year before the Civil War started, Queen Victoria herself was asked to test the new Whitworth Rifle when she was invited as guest of honour at the weapon's trial. She was provided with a special rest and some form of protection from recoil, and to her own delight and that of the assembled grandees, she hit the bullseye from one quarter of a mile ! I wonder if she could have imagined that four years later rebellious former subjects of the British Crown were putting it to such deadly use fighting each other !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/22/2020 12:12:26 PM
Hi Phil,

Franklin is certainly up there with Gettysburg, Antietam, in controversy, & massive bloodshed. It's easy to see how your so interested in it!?

BTW with so many Confederate Officers killed, do you know if CW sharpshooter s targeted officers? Any proof of this?

Stay safe, I hear the UK is having major Covid 19 problems!? Stay inside, & research the Battle of Franklin!?

Regards,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/23/2020 5:00:38 AM
Quote:

Stay safe, I hear the UK is having major Covid 19 problems!? Stay inside, & research the Battle of Franklin!?

Regards,
MD


You know what, Dave ?

Reading about Hood and Franklin does help me, as we writhe in this dark Covid valley.

How would Hood behave faced with our dilemma ? Should we go head on and press home with bold moves, taking risks that might get us out of this predicament ; or should we do a Joe Johnston, keep our heads down and trust in caution rather than boldness ?

The one might yield a Franklin, the other cedes more and more ground to the foe.

I suppose each approach has its merits : so much is a question of timing and luck.

Poor Hood ! He deserved better luck, I truly believe. His own desperate physical wreckage notwithstanding, he married in 1868 and produced eleven children, which really does tell us about bold and assertive action !

Hood's own awful fate was to die with his wife and some of his children in a yellow fever epidemic in Louisiana in the 1870s. Compared with that, what's Covid ?

Now I read that schools and streets named after him have had their names changed in this current outbreak of another disease that afflicts minds rather than bodies.....I won't go there. It's as if Hood has been killed twice.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/23/2020 11:59:58 AM
Hey Phil,

What's with this new strain of Covid any way, does it have a multiplier effect? Also Hood at Gettysburg led the Texas Brigade, did he have Texans at Franklin??

Stay safe!
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/23/2020 3:34:27 PM
Dave,

Two new strains : one identified in the South East of England, entailing a rather more rapid spread ; and another, more worrying, traced to South Africa which has the propensity to afflict children more than the virus we've been living with for the past year. I hope that I'm wrong about this.

Regarding Texans at Franklin : yes, there was a significant contingent of them who served in General Hiram Granbury's Brigade. Four infantry regiments and three dismounted cavalry regiments of Texans fought in the battle. Granbury himself was killed, his body found within twenty steps of the enemy breastworks, collapsed on his knees with his hands on his face. Of the 1,100 men he commanded, 400 were casualties. There are 89 graves in the McGavock Cemetery which mark those identified as Texans, but it's probable that some of the 225 interred as Unknown are also from Texas.

Here's the breakdown of interments :

Mississippi - 424
Tennessee - 230
Missouri - 130
Alabama - 129
Arkansas - 104
Texas - 89
Georgia - 69
South Carolina - 51
Louisiana - 19
Kentucky - 5
Florida - 4
North Carolina - 2
Unknown -225

There were several hundred yankee dead left on the field. Their returning comrades went to great pains to exhume them : most of them had been buried in their own earthworks, with the earth simply thrown over them by the rebels who had too many of their own dead to worry about. After the war, these yankees were removed to a big concentration cemetery at Murfreesboro. It had been suggested that they remain in a local cemetery nearer Franklin itself, but it's rumoured that The Klan insisted otherwise.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/24/2020 10:45:27 AM
Hi Phil,

Sorry for interrupting your CW thread with talk of Covid 19, your list on interments definitely indicates most of the Confederate forces from Western states, I'm sure that Union losses will reflect the same?? Lee, & Meade, & Grant after all had their hands full out east!?

Anything else on this battle? It seems like Lee at Gettysburg, Hood felt he had to attack, & win a significant victory At this pivital time for the AoT? Maybe it effected his decision??

Happy holidays, & stay safe,
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Barnesville Blues
Killarney  Ireland
Posts: 4
Joined: 2020
Franklin
12/24/2020 10:50:46 AM
Quote:
No takers on this one, then.....

Let me say, though, that I've been guilty of buying books which I don't read. One such is for CAUSE for COUNTRY A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. This is the work of Eric A Jacobson, with co-author Richard A Rupp.


I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jacobson November 2019 at the Franklin Battlefield Visitors Center. He is one of those guys who really knows the battle, starting talking about the division I was researching with even referring to notes and told me something that I didn't know. I also met Mr. Cartwright, another man jam packed with knowledge on the Battle.
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/26/2020 10:49:01 PM
Phil,

In one of your post you talk about Spring Hill being this great bungled oppertunity for Hood and the AOT and I think that is over blown. It is the end of November and northern Tenn is far from the deep south weather wise. That "morning dew" on the grass is frost. Hood has sent Cheatham's and Stewert's Corps in Forrest's Corps wake basically cross country on a flanking movement. There are numerous accounts from throughout the campaign, Florence to Nashville, of mounrs breaking down and the shortage of shoes for the troops. Remember the quote about following the retreat from Nashville by the bloody footprints? The numbers given for the AOT reflect ZERO straggling. Also by the time Cleburne and Bate come up Forrest's troopers are basically out of ammo and the ammo wagons for them haven't caught up. Also they have taken but a few arty batteries with them on the march and the two or three that actually attempted to go into action late in the afternoon were thoughly over-matched.

Hope you had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/27/2020 9:32:34 AM
John,

Thanks for coming to the party : you've opened my eyes to an aspect of Spring Hill which has never occurred to me. I had always accepted the popular accounts of a wasted chance.

I must make it my business to look again.

The men that Hood lead north into central Tennessee were still battle worthy, wouldn't you say ?

I've just been looking at the story of the fight at Allatoona Pass eight weeks before Franklin, and it's apparent that it was an extremely fierce business, with French's Division reporting more casualties than it was to at Franklin. At Allatoona the yankees had strong redoubts and quite a lot of repeating rifles : yet the losses on both sides were remarkably even. Clearly , Hood's men were in fine form then : how far did the ensuing eight weeks wear them down in body and soul ?

I want to wish you all the best for the New Year, and hope that you had a good Christmas too.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/27/2020 9:34:33 AM
Quote:
Quote:
No takers on this one, then.....

Let me say, though, that I've been guilty of buying books which I don't read. One such is for CAUSE for COUNTRY A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. This is the work of Eric A Jacobson, with co-author Richard A Rupp.


I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jacobson November 2019 at the Franklin Battlefield Visitors Center. He is one of those guys who really knows the battle, starting talking about the division I was researching with even referring to notes and told me something that I didn't know. I also met Mr. Cartwright, another man jam packed with knowledge on the Battle.


Great to have you with us, again, BB !

Which division were you researching ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/27/2020 9:39:32 AM
Quote:
Hi Phil,

Sorry for interrupting your CW thread with talk of Covid 19, your list on interments definitely indicates most of the Confederate forces from Western states, I'm sure that Union losses will reflect the same?? Lee, & Meade, & Grant after all had their hands full out east!?

Anything else on this battle? It seems like Lee at Gettysburg, Hood felt he had to attack, & win a significant victory At this pivital time for the AoT? Maybe it effected his decision??

Happy holidays, & stay safe,
MD


Hi Dave,

Happy to talk about Covid : even more so if I compare the approach to it with the different styles of a Joe Johnston and a John Bell Hood !

You're right, I think, to suggest that Hood was acting at Franklin under the same sense of " now or never" that had weighed on Lee at Gettysburg.

Yes, preponderantly western troops fought on both sides at Franklin. Those guys liked a scrap !

Best wishes to you, too.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/28/2020 1:05:41 AM
Phil,

How far do you think you can walk in the frost with no shoes or socks? Or even on the cold ground? Are you going to be able to keep pace with those that have shoes and socks?

Plus look at the numbers. About 3,300 in 3 Brigades with French with about 900 casualties leaves about 800 men in each Brigade. You talked about the Tex units in Granberry's Brigade but you failed to mention that 2 of the infantry regiments and the 3 dismounted cav reginemt had been consolidated into 2 regiments and 3 other units added and there was still less that 1,300 men.

At Spring Hill by the time Cleburne and Bate got up in was mid to late afternoon, they had little arty and Forrest's troopers were basically out of ammo. And Spring Hill was the end of over 75 miles of hard forced marches in less than a week.

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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/28/2020 7:16:33 AM
John,

Oh dear, yes ! Of course marching 75 miles over frozen ground without footwear must be a nightmare.

The wonder is that those men were able and willing to fight at Franklin at all.

It's a complex campaign : this is the first time that I've tried to survey the thing properly, and I confess that my mind reels when I try and remember all the different locations and names of the various officers. This is where the Eastern Theatre is so much more familiar and easier to assimilate : a bad thing to admit, and something I must try and put right in my own mind.

I note that there were instances in the campaign when Hood refrained from pressing home attacks because he was unwilling to take the probable casualties attendant on a direct frontal assault. That makes Franklin all the more shocking.

Hood seems to have been a proponent of bold manoeuvre : things kept going wrong.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6202
Joined: 2006
Franklin
12/28/2020 12:16:00 PM
Guys,

Just a quick question, would you say who ever wins the Battle of Franklin, wins at Nashville too??

BTW it would seem this far into the war that A fair amount of Confederate troops would either have made some kind of makeshift footwear or taken boots from dead troops? But then again many were documented without! Any citing in histories on this?

Thanks,
MD

BTW Does Springhill, Franklin, & Nashville all have nice Battlefield Parks to visit, I travel by there most winters??
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/28/2020 1:55:12 PM
Quote:
Guys,

Just a quick question, would you say who ever wins the Battle of Franklin, wins at Nashville too??

BTW it would seem this far into the war that A fair amount of Confederate troops would either have made some kind of makeshift footwear or taken boots from dead troops? But then again many were documented without! Any citing in histories on this?

Thanks,
MD

BTW Does Springhill, Franklin, & Nashville all have nice Battlefield Parks to visit, I travel by there most winters??


Dave,

Winning at Spring Hill was bound to make a huge difference . Imagine what that would have done to Schofield's army !

Trying to attribute a " might have been " to Franklin is too difficult for me : that battle would not have been fought if Spring Hill had been conducted according to Hood's expectations.

Think of Chickamauga and Confederate victory there : that resulted in huge Southern defeat at Chattanooga. I get the impression that Thomas was going to win whenever, wherever, with or without Franklin ; although the Southern casualties at Franklin rendered union victory at Nashville far more likely.

Rebels had been taking boots from dead yankees for a long time prior to Franklin : look at the photos of Union dead at Gettysburg, and you'll see bloated blue clad corpses minus their shoes near the Peach Orchard and the Emmitsburg Road.. Much ink has been expended discussing Heth's claim that Gettysburg was fought because the rebels were looking for shoes !

As for Lee's first foray into Maryland in September 1862, there is a wealth of anecdote about his men being barefoot.

There has been an effective effort to help preserve the Franklin battlefield, and a Pizza Restaurant was removed from it recently. People are more interested in preserving such sites, but I fear that the prevalent onslaught of the " woke " will prove more of a threat to it than real estate developers, as the wave of revulsion against the symbols of the Confederacy sweeps away anything that allows us to view the past with equanimity.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/29/2020 11:53:53 AM
Phil,

I don't have the material handy but I want to say shortly after Franklin Hood wrote in a letter or report that he attacked to break the men of the fear of attacking breastworks. So that would have been the corps or division commanders calling off frontal attacks not Hood.

Years back I saw in book or article the author call this the "fantasy campaign" and at the time I still held on to the ANVA mage of Hood and thought this guy is nuts. Now after more than 30 years reading as much as I can on the Western War I don't think he went far enough.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/30/2020 5:04:56 AM
Quote:
Phil,

I don't have the material handy but I want to say shortly after Franklin Hood wrote in a letter or report that he attacked to break the men of the fear of attacking breastworks. So that would have been the corps or division commanders calling off frontal attacks not Hood.

Years back I saw in book or article the author call this the "fantasy campaign" and at the time I still held on to the ANVA mage of Hood and thought this guy is nuts. Now after more than 30 years reading as much as I can on the Western War I don't think he went far enough.



John,

You mention that AoNV image of Hood. That's the triumphant brigade and division commander, and it does make a seductive image...Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas and the desperate attempt to remonstrate about the folly of a line of advance at Gettysburg. And yet, the commander of the AoNV himself, while giving full credit to Hood's combat prowess, was prepared to go on the record and inform Davis that he [Lee} was ...doubtful as to other qualities necessary... when it came to assessment of Hood's suitability for command of the AoT. That's a very sobering qualification. It does serve to show how we all have our ceiling, so to speak. A man who is absolutely superb as a subordinate commander is going to be plain out of his depth when it comes to army command. I still feel that Hood was very unlucky, and that the sheer toxicity of the relationships between senior officers in the Western Theatre was bound to compound the effects of this bad luck.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/30/2020 1:53:06 PM
Phil,

It wasn't "Western officers" that didn't carry out Joe Johnston's orders to attack at least twice and then write to Richmond that Johnston had no plans to attack, it was Hood. The point your not wrapping your head around is that Hood wallowed in and create his share of the toxicity. You can blame it on the woman and being high as a kite but you can't say it ain't so. He sat there kissing Joe Johnston's butt to his face while planting the knife in his back in letters to Richmond.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/30/2020 2:14:09 PM
Hey, John, just a moment, please !

Near the beginning of this thread I mentioned how Hood intrigued in a manner that was, frankly, disgraceful .

Those were pretty well my exact words.

Sad fool that I am, I got quite agitated when I saw your comment that I wasn’t getting my head round that .

Regards, Phil






----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/30/2020 8:41:44 PM
Phil,

Forgive me I just don't feel the "toxcitity" was as widespread and ingrained as you implied. I believe there was a unholy trinity of Bragg, Loring and Bishop Polk with the Davis/Joe Johnston fued thrown on top. I think one of Hood and Johnston's biggest problems was Loring was the senior division commander in Hood's Corps.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/31/2020 5:04:16 AM
John,

Thanks for explaining. Your knowledge and interest in the Western Theatre wins my respect. I need to learn more about Loring.....what was his culpability ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1152
Joined: 2004
Franklin
12/31/2020 11:04:42 PM
Phil,

Main instigator in the anti Pemberton bull in the Army of Miss who three times at Champion Hill ignored orders to support Bowen's attack. Good place to start.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Barnesville Blues
Killarney  Ireland
Posts: 4
Joined: 2020
Franklin
12/31/2020 11:14:57 PM
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
No takers on this one, then.....

Let me say, though, that I've been guilty of buying books which I don't read. One such is for CAUSE for COUNTRY A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. This is the work of Eric A Jacobson, with co-author Richard A Rupp.


I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jacobson November 2019 at the Franklin Battlefield Visitors Center. He is one of those guys who really knows the battle, starting talking about the division I was researching with even referring to notes and told me something that I didn't know. I also met Mr. Cartwright, another man jam packed with knowledge on the Battle.


Great to have you with us, again, BB !

Which division were you researching ?

Regards, Phil

Thank you, I always enjoyed this site. It might not be as active as the other civil war site I was a member of but at least it doesn't drag modern politics into history. At Franklin, the unit I am researching was in Tyler's/T. B. Smith's Brigade, Bate's Division, Cheatham's Corps.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4926
Joined: 2004
Franklin
1/1/2021 12:18:12 PM
Quote:
At Franklin, the unit I am researching was in Tyler's/T. B. Smith's Brigade, Bate's Division, Cheatham's Corps.



Ah, yes.....Tennesseans and Georgians.

Thanks for telling me.

Jacobson's book reveals that Bate's division suffered several hundred casualties in the battle, although it's clear that, compared with the worst hit, they escaped lightly. All the same, there are 230 men from Tennessee and 69 from Georgia who are interred at the McGavock Cemetery, in addition to those who might be buried in the " Unknown" section, and undoubtedly a significant portion of these are from the brigade you are researching.

Here are the figures for divisional casualties as officially returned, or, in the case of Cleburne and Brown, estimated. The figure for Forrest's Cavalry is reckoned at no more than half of the 269 returned for the whole month of November.

Cleburne : 1,500

Brown : 1,150

Loring : 876

French : 652

Johnson : 587

Walthall : 580

Bate : 319

Forrest : 134

This total of about 5,800 does beg the question as to whether there has been a degree of exaggeration in the usually accepted estimates.

Lord knows, though, that citation of fifty eight hundred is bad enough. It bears a resemblance to the Confederate casualty list for the great Battle of Atlanta on 22 July 1864, which was the deadliest day of battle in the entire Georgia Campaign of May to September. At Atlanta, Cleburne's division of 3,500 attacked relentlessly all day and into the night , and reported casualties of 1,388, roughly 40% of its strength. At Franklin, the same division numbered 2,900 and is estimated to have taken 1,500 casualties : 52%..... the preponderance of them sustained in a couple of hours. The loss of senior officers at Atlanta was dreadful, but Franklin's toll was even worse. The fighting was more confined in terms of time and space, with a great concentration of slaughter focused on a tiny area around the Carter House building and yard. Worse still, the close quarters exposure to the most intense enemy firepower from rifles and artillery meant that the proportion of killed among those who were hit was very high, with men being struck repeatedly and literally torn to shreds.

Sometimes I wonder if Jeff Davis and Hood were thinking about a Civil War equivalent of Germany's Ardennes Offensive of December 1944.

Regards, Phil



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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Barnesville Blues
Killarney  Ireland
Posts: 4
Joined: 2020
Franklin
1/1/2021 10:24:21 PM
Mr. Jacobsen stated to me that T. B. Smith's Brigade and Bate's Florida Brigade both got trapped in a ravine and could not fully turn their front towards the union line, Jackson who commanded Bate's other Brigade, complained after the Battle that his attack was not properly supported. Mr. Jacobsen told me this in passing but I have never been able to find any documentation on it.

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