Saturday, September 7, 2013

Battle of Franklin with Ed Bearss

We are getting behind with our posts, so I am gonna try to get this one out without writing too much (not that matters, for I doubt but a few actually read the blasted stuff).  Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Dudeboy and I traveled south to Franklin, Tn. to tour some of the sites pertaining to the Battle of Franklin.  And later that evening we joined a group of similar enthusiasts for a mini battlefield tour given by the one and only Ed Bearss.

Winstead Hill . . . it was from this vantage point that Confederate General John Bell Hood (born in Kentucky) watched his eighteen brigades march off in what is sometimes referred to as the "Pickett's Charge of the West." Eighteen brigades . . . this is something like 20,000 soldiers.  This charge covered twice the distance of the more famous Gettysburg event, and the Pickett/Pettigrew/Trimble Charge only involved about 12,500 men for the Confederates.  

Some of the monuments commemorating the fallen Confederate generals.  There were more Confederate generals killed at this battle than any other during the Civil War . . . a total of six died as a result of the battle.  They also sustained seven wounded and one captured.

Carter's Cotton Gin . . . location of some of the most intense action during the battle.  Years ago, the last time I toured the battlefield, this was a Pizza Hut parking lot.  Makes you wonder if Cleburne would have given his all knowing he died for a parking space.

Cenotaph for General Patrick Cleburne, now on reclaimed ground befitting the man and righting the disappointment of a lost battlefield. I must commend the city of Franklin and all those involved for restoring bits and sections of the battlefield. Not that my opinion matters, but I consider Patrick Cleburne one of the best, if not the best, generals of the Confederacy.

Carter House . . . it was in this area that Confederate forces poured into a breach in the Union line. Fortunately, and fortuitously, a Union counterattack under Opdycke staved off disaster.  Captain Tod Carter, son of the owner of the house, was "hit eight times in the body and once over his left eye, where the bullet lodged in his brain. Tod was found delirious, but still alive on the field early the next morning by members of his family and brought into his home to receive treatment. Tod passed away the following day."
(from the Carter house brochure)

This structure, the farm office, is said to be the most battle damaged structure in the country. This is just a small section of the damage. I asked the docent how in the world this place survived, and why wasn't it repaired? She stated that early on veterans and the general public realized how important this place was and that it needed to be preserved as a sort of memorial.  

Of course not everyone shared that view.  At one point in the early 1950's the home and the surrounding structures were almost torn down to make way for a gas station!

The bullet riddled brickwork on the backside of the smokehouse.

Carnton Plantation . . . while this was not the scene of actual fighting, thousands of CSA troops streamed passed here on the way to engage the entrenched Union army.  After the battle the house was used as a division field hospital.  Today one can still see the blood stains now ingrained into the floor.

As with most historical homes in the US, photography is not allowed on the inside. I don't remember this being an issue at any of the homes we visited in Canada. I have heard that the reasoning behind this is that the baddies use the photos to "case the joint." I am dubious.

So, this is the famous porch where four of the Confederate generals were laid out . . . Adams, Granbury, Cleburn, and Strahl.

McGavock's Confederate Cemetery . . . apparently this is the largest "private" Confederate cemetery. It is located on ground donated by the family who owned the Carnton Plantation, which can be seen in the background.

Ed Bearss . . . semper fi. 

I was beginning to think I would never get to meet Mr. Bearss, and dang it if we haven't now seen him three times in the last year and a half!

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