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Battle of Franklin
Battle of Franklin
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Battle of Franklin

American Major Civil War Battle (1864)

The Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, was essentially where the Confederate Army of Tennessee ceased to function as it once did and where the chance of success for the Nashville Campaign disappeared.

After the Union Army sneaked past the Confederates in the middle of the night after the Battle of Spring Hill, Commanding Confederate General John Bell Hood was enraged, he accused every soldier in the army of being cowards and having lost luster. Hood decided that he would attack General John Schofield and the Union Army at the next oppertunity (which would be later in the day).

Hood willingly abandoned all of his artillery in Spring Hill and devised a frontal assault with 23,000 men (Pickett's charge at Gettysburg had 12,500) against a well fortified city, across 2 miles of open ground while being shelled by the Union artillery. When his generals protested, Hood assured them that he would prove to them that raw courage is the deciding factor in combat. Many of the Confederate Generals knew what Hood's plan would mean for them.

The Confederate Army marched the two miles with flags flying and bands playing as if going on parade, this presentation shocked the Federals as many Union soldiers considered them a grand and inspiring sight.

The main attack was within a few yards of breaching the city's defenses when it began to waver. General Patrick Cleburne, who staunchly opposed the plan, (having been shot in the leg earlier in the charge and two horses shot out from under him) drew his sword and on foot led a massive charge that broke through the city defences. However a bold and extremely hard-pressed counter attack from the Union Army pushed the confederates back out. It was a stalemate, each army on the opposite side of a dirt wall, reduced to throwing rocks, eventually calmed in the night.

Like in the Battle of Spring Hill, the Union Army disappeared in the night. at a loss of 3,000 Union soldiers and over 6,000 Confederate Soldiers in five hours, the battle cost too high a price. Though the number of casualities aren't particularly high, it is a strange occurance that while being shell marching over two miles, and making a massive assault thats all the Confederates suffered.

At the end of the day, General Patrick Cleburne and five other generals lay dead. The Confederate Army had been wrecked like water on rocks because of the damage done to the officers; in some cases men would jump from commanding a company to a whole brigade (from over one hundred to over one thousand).

Submitted By:  David Allison


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