Question of the Week: 12/2-12/8/19

The Battle of Franklin is significant in Civil War history in several different ways. But we’re curious…what makes this battle important to you?

20 Responses to Question of the Week: 12/2-12/8/19

  1. Arthur MacArthur’s participation as commander of the 24th Wisconsin. Had he died of his serious wounds, history would have been very different.

  2. The oldest joke at the ‘black powder’ National Parks Civil War battlefields is the one about the visitor who asks the ranger, “How come all Civil War battles happened in National Parks?”
    At Franklin, there is no wide sweep of parkland where your imagination has to work overtime. That battle happened in the Carter family’s yard. Their son was mortally wounded within a short walk & died at home. Perhaps the most thought provoking relic, maybe of the whole war, are the bullet strikes on the sides of the Carter’s brick smokehouse & clabbered office. There is hardly a space big enough to place your hand between the bullet holes. You are literally touching that efemerable moment when the round struck.
    Stand back a ways, (the houses next door are gone) to the gravel path that marks the Union trenchline; immediately, something becomes clear. The attacking Confederate infantry was firing uphill. The blue soldiers were dug in on the military crest, only a hands breath of them showing. Because of the lay of the land, they almost could not miss. My instructor taught me that you always miss firing uphill. All those pockmarks are overs, they were harmless.
    I always say that there is nothing like walking the ground to inform the understanding. My goodness, the attackers were in an even worse predicament than I thought.

  3. The battle destroyed the Army of Tennessee’s offensive potential. It became a demoralized phantom of itself with no ability to truly threaten major Federal forces & could only mark time until the ultimate coup de grace.

  4. For me, it’s not the battle itself that’s the most important, it’s the preservation story. For so long Franklin was considered a lost battlefield. But recently, in thanks to some especially tenacious people and really hard work, the battlefield is starting to be reclaimed. There’s still a lot of work to do, but progress is progress.

  5. When I think of Franklin, I usually picture John Bell Hood, one of those larger-than-life characters. Like so many others, you would like to meet him just to help understand him. Was it this war, or war in general, or the times that produced such fascinating and perplexing people in such abundance? Maybe they are around us now but we just don’t see them. That’s one reason history is so alluring.

  6. The death of Patrick Cleburne, the Confederacy’s finest general in the Western Theater. Thank goodness his earlier advocacy of enlisting blacks into Rebel armies foreclosed him being promoted any further. I shutter to think what would have happened if Cleburne had eventually been named commander of the Army of Tennessee.

  7. Patrick Cleburne was a great “gay” general, probably the greatest gay officer of the Civil War. His death was terrible for the Confederacy. His success shows that being gay should not be a barrier to being successful in the military.

    1. Dear rarerootbeer:

      Was there ever any question that being gay was “a barrier to being successful in the military?” To wit: The greatest general of all time – Alexander the Great – was gay (or at least bisexual).

      By the way, I’ve read a lot about Cleburne, but never seen anything about him being gay. Not that it really matters, but where did you read that he was gay?

    2. to rarerootbeer
      The respondents on this site are dedicated to the study of the American Civil War and do not hide their identity for the postings that they make on this site.
      I have read and studied much about Patrick Cleburne and cannot find ANY sources that allege reference to his sexuality and preferences. Please provide a source (or sources) regarding your statement so that we may all be enlightened. As Mr. Ruth states, I fail to see the relevance of Cleburne’s sexuality but I would be interested to know whether you have a source (or sources) or if you are actually an internet troll that has posted for his amusement. If so, I hope you enjoyed yourself.
      Unlike your post, my posts bear my real name – proudly.

  8. Had this battle not occurred and Hood’s army advanced on Nashville intact we could have seen a totally different outcome to this theater of war. As it were though, i feel that this battle was as significant both in the charge and outcome as was Gettysburg.

  9. The continued valor of the common soldier in the AoT, at that late stage of the war and that there were still enough of an army left to continue on to Nashville, even though the offensive capability of the Confederates, as mentioned above, had been destroyed on the field of Franklin.

    Cannot help but state the obvious here as well and say the loss of Patrick R. Cleburne.

  10. I would have to say the role of the Ohioan Emerson Opdycke in the battle. Tragically, he survived this bloody battle only to die by the accidental discharge of his revolver after the war.

  11. I once heard it described as the culmination of “the great death ride of the Army of Tennessee” by my Polish brother, Chris Kolakowski. That was such a descriptive phrase that it stuck with me, and it painted the event with a certain patina of tragedy.

    I’m also a big fan off the preservation work that’s been done out there–a real success story! The lost battlefield is slowly but surely being reclaimed and restored.

  12. Two regiments with men from my hometown – the 50th Ohio and 104th Ohio – found themselves at the epicenter of the November 30th attack. Finding their headstones in my local cemetery helped to foster an early appreciation for Civil War history.

  13. It’s been awhile since I read up on this campaign, but if memory serves, Hood had made an open promise to not sacrifice troops via assaulting prepared positions, and then he proceeded to do nothing but.

  14. When I think of Franklin, I think of the immense loss and devastation of human lives there. I also think of the battlefield’s incredible story of preservation – that even though the battlefield itself was nearly lost to development, progress can be made to save it again and forever tell those stories of the brave men who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Lastly, I think of the many Missourians who fought on both sides and sustained major losses there.

  15. I totally agree with the comments of Victor Vignola. I believe rootbeerman’s comments would come as a big surprise to Susan Tarleton, General Cleburne’s fiance. Maybe a review of some of the correspondence of Miss Tarleton and Cleburne’s staff would enlighten rootbeerman. My guess is that rootbeerman is related to someone at ECW who has posted and has been a presenter at their symposiums and is obviously looking for some attention.

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