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We started in good time over frozen ground and ice though the pike was tolerable good only in spots. All day we have passed the wrecks of Hood’s fleeing army, signs of hot pursuit. We reached Spring Hill at 4 p.m. and go in camp just before it commences to rain again. The little village is very much dilapidated to what it was when we first saw it. It was near that the Rebs came near cutting off our retreat up to Franklin. Made a search to find commissary wagons but fail and have to crumb it scantily at that. Rain increases and our bed is wet as has been for sometime.

A.L. Ewing (63rd Indiana Infantry) diary for Dec 20th, 1864

Source: The Eli Lilly Library, Indiana University

Oh what a night for any but veterans. The weather drizzled til about 3 p.m. when it set in to rain in earnest and continued to pour down till late this afternoon. The first thing I saw on waking up was a sea of mud and water all around me, and when I got up water soon ran into the depression where I had slept. As soon as the men began moving around, the soft earth became a perfect lob, which we had to cook, eat and stand around near 4 p.m. when we moved over to Franklin and camp on the old battleground which is dotted with many graves of the slain of 18 days ago. I went up to see the old works where we lay during the fight. We are camped on solid grassy ground. The night is cool and I think freezing but we are made comfortable by our camp stove which my boy carries and we have a plank to sleep on. Crossing the bridge a man fell off but was near enough to shore to scramble out safe but was bad scared.

A,L. Ewing diary entry for Dec 19, 1864

Source: The Eli Lilly Library, Indiana University

We came about eight miles yesterday and last eve could hear cannon ahead. But now this morning the enemy is reported to be beyond Franklin where they suffered some yesterday trying to check out advance. We move about a mile across farms and get on the Franklin Pike where we find the commissary wagons and draw rations. Some captured wagons and 300 captured prisoners pass to our rear. Some of them barefooted. It is reported we have captured Gen Cheatham.

Source: A.L. Ewing Civil War Diary, Eli Lilly Library

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Kraig McNutt is the author and publisher of this blog. He has been blogging on Franklin for over five years and on the Civil War in general since 1995. Email him.

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Summary of the Battle of Franklin

The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864 in Franklin, Tennessee; in Williamson County. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee (around 33,000 men) faced off with John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio and the Cumberland (around 30,000 men). Often cited as "the bloodiest five hours" during the American Civil War, the Confederates lost between 6,500 - 7,500 men, with 1,750 dead. The Federals lost around 2,000 - 2,500 men, with just 250 or less killed. Hood lost 30,000 men in just six months (from July 1864 until December 15). The Battle of Franklin was fought mostly at night. Several Confederate Generals were killed, including Patrick Cleburne, and the Rebels also lost 50% of their field commanders. Hood would limp into Nashville two weeks later before suffering his final defeat before retreating to Pulaski in mid December. Hundreds of wounded Confederate soldiers were taken to the John and Carrie McGavock home - Carnton - after the battle. She became known as the Widow of the South. The McGavock's eventually donated two acres to inter the Confederate dead. Almost 1,500 Rebel soldiers are buried in McGavock Confederate Cemetery, just in view of the Carnton house.

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