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    [Battle of Franklin]. Archive of Items Related to the Battle of Franklin. Comprised of twelve letters, telegraphs, and field orders, two maps, and one booklet spanning the years 1864 through 1889. In the latter half of November 1864, the Army of the Ohio, commanded by Gen. John M. Schofield, was centered on the town of Columbia, Tennessee. With Gen. William T. Sherman focusing his efforts in Georgia, Confederate General John Bell Hood, recently defeated by Sherman near Atlanta, was left free to invade Tennessee.

    Things were rather peaceful until November 23, when a report was received from Col. Horace Capron, 14th Illinois Cavalry, in the field: "...I was attacked 18 miles south west of Mt. Pleasant on the Waynesboro road this afternoon about 2 o'clock by a superior force of Rebel Cavalry & gradually fell back to this point. My communication with Genl. [Edward] Hatch was cut off early in the morning & citizens report that he had fallen back from Lawrenceburg and an officer coming up from Columbia reports our forces falling back to Columbia from Pulaski - I wish to know the true state of affairs - if these reports are true shall I hold this position or fall back. In short I await orders." The following day, November 24, Gen. Schofield sent a military telegraph to Gen. Thomas H. Ruger, who was already aware of the situation, with orders: "Genl Cox is within Six or eight miles of Columbia I will order him to march there at once. Tell Capron to hold on as far out as he can communicate with Cox and give him the condition of affairs. do all you can to prepare a line of defense about Columbia for our whole force." Three days later, on November 27, Ruger received an extract from Special Field Orders, No. 164, concerning his command: "Maj. Gen. Stanley will withdraw his Corps to the North bank of Duck River toning, and...in the morning will take position to cover the flanks of the Bridge Head occupied by Genl. Ruger. Col. Henderson will withdraw his brigade simultaneously...and will march at once to the R. R. Bridge Head and report to Genl. Ruger...Ruger will occupy the Bridge Head until further orders. Genl. Ruger's pickets on the right...will withdraw at the same time with Col. Hendersons and join their Division."

    On November 28, a letter arrived at the headquarters of the 1st Brigade, near Beards Ferry, from Gen. Joseph A. Cooper describing his recent march to Centerville and another encounter with the enemy: "I lost ten (10) men killed, and two (2) wounded by Guerillas..." That same morning, Gen. Schofield, from his headquarters near Columbia, received reports that the rebels were centering near Franklin, ordering him to "...make your position perfectly secure so as to render it impossible for the enemy to effect a crossing at that place...If the bridge is not sufficiently burned to ender it useless to the enemy complete it tonight...Genl Stanleys line will reach to Rutherford Creek...You can connect pickets with him there. Take from the trains...any supplies you may want and send the trains to Nashville...A brigade of cavalry has just gone to the right. Get in communication with the Comdg officer keep advised of all that transpires on that flank and inform me."

    The next day, a special field order was issued to all commanders informing them that the "...Army [Army of the Ohio] will retire to Franklin..." At 8 o'clock that morning, Gen. Ruger received a letter from Gen. Schofield apprising him of the situation, "The enemy is coming in force above us...," and ordering him to "...leave a regiment to guard the river until night, and move at once with the remainder of your troops and artillery to Spring Hill. Leave orders for the regiment to join you there tonight, but not to leave its present position until after dark..." In the case of an attack, he is further ordered to "...communicate the fact and await further orders before moving. Send orders to your troops down the river to march without delay to Franklin, leaving the cavalry to watch the river. Order them to obstruct the roads as the fall back." Within forty-five minutes, a second letter arrived, again from Schofield, this time canceling the previous order "...until further ordered, but make all preparations for it." At 10:40 p.m. a third Schofield letter came to hand ordering him to "...move at once as directed this morning."

    The next day, the Confederate army assaulted the city of Franklin with eighteen brigades, but were handily defeated, losing over 6,200 men, and Schofield affected a near-perfect withdrawal to Nashville. It was one of worst Confederate defeats of the war.

    With an exquisite, 34.75" x 21.25" (width varies), hand-drawn map of the area west-southwest of Franklin showing the towns of Columbia (the location of the headquarters of the Army of the Ohio in the days before the Battle of Franklin) Centerville, Johnsonville and others. Also depicted are Duck Creek and the Tennessee River. Distance table in the center near the lower edge. Contains some light pencil notations in places. Folds with areas of wrinkling. Moderate foxing. Staining along the main vertical fold, especially near the lower edge. Also, a secondary map titled "Battle of Franklin, Tenn. Nov. 30th, 1864." The map shows the locations of both Union (in blue) and Confederate (in red) positions the day of the battle and a five page booklet about the battle "Condensed from Cox's 'March to the Sea, Franklin and Nashville,' and the 'Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.'"


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    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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