Sunday, November 25, 2007

Battle of Franklin - Carter House #3

During the battles for Atlanta in July, 1864, Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate States) named General John Bell Hood to replace General Joseph Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Davis did so because he felt that Johnston, although successful in many battles, was too cautious, and Davis thought Hood would be more aggressive in engaging the Union. This is important to know because of what would transpire in Franklin, TN later that year.

Hood did not fare well against Sherman who, by September, had control of Atlanta. As he pulled his forces out of Atlanta, Hood burned supply depots and military facilities to prevent the Union from taking control of them. In November, 1864, Sherman burned Atlanta to the ground and started his march to the sea. Hood, determined to destroy the Union divisions heading back to Nashville, started to devise a plan to stop them and failed to do so during a battle at Spring Hill on November 29.

General Schofield and his troops were able to sneak past Hood's Army of Tennessee in the middle of the night, arriving in Franklin around 1:00 AM. As I mentioned yesterday, General Cox awoke the Carter family and commandeered their home. Throughout the day, soldiers worked at building fortifications on the Carter property.

Hood, angered that the Union had slipped by him, made plans to attack. The generals commanding Hood's troops strongly objected to the plan, but Hood was determined. At 4:00 PM, the Army of Tennessee launched their attack.

While the Union expected an attack, they didn't believe Hood would be reckless enough to attack their larger and fortified armies. Word that the Confederates were attacking was a bit of a surprise, and the Carter family, servants and neighbors (who had been assured they were probably not in danger early that day) had little time to flee to safer positions in town. Instead, 23 men, women and children crowded into the Carter House cellar for the duration of the battle. It was pitch black, and they could hear all of the sounds of war - guns. . . cannons. . . screams. . . moans. . . shouts. . . (Having been in that cellar in the middle of the day, I can tell you that it is DARK!)

For five hours, the two sides battled. The fighting was brutal and very bloody. Men were shot, clubbed, stabbed, choked, punched and bayoneted to death. In addition to the darkness due to time of day, the gun and cannon fire produced so much smoke that the men could not tell who was on which side. One soldier used a knife to claw a hole in the back door of Carter House so that he could crawl in and escape. Another died after being bayoneted on the front steps of the house.

When the fighting stopped that night, most of the remaining Union forces headed to Nashville. The Carters came out of the basement to find their home now being used as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and to get some devastating news.

But, that's tomorrow's story. . .


Kate said...

Great photo; makes me want to tour the Civil War battles. Could be another trip!

Me said...

As if the cool photos were not enough, the information you provide is almost overwhelming! Keep up the good work.

Web-OJ said...

The info you've given is great.

By the way, I like the clock you've put on the right hand side.

Glenn Standish said...

Historical stuff Chris. Always interesting to see Civil War related imagery.

quintarantino said...

I'm waiting for the rest of the story. You know your History and that's good for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Nice canon shot but the story is well worth the read. Nice work.