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A prisoner told me that one brigade was sent against us last night with orders to capture us, yet were sent but it was a costly fortune. Rebel General Adams was killed in the ditch. General Pat Cleburne was among the slain. During the interval between their last charge and the time we left, the quiet was broken by the moans and piteous cries of the wounded for water out in the darkness. I could but feel sympathy for the poor fellows though they would do us and our country all the harm they could. We marched hard all last night, took breakfast at Brentwood. The 175th Ohio, a new regiment, was scattered along the pike and seemed to be badly demoralized. We rested a few hours then moved up under the guns of Fort Negley and received mail which was quite a welcomed treat.

Written by Addison Lee Ewing, Captain, Co F, 63rd Indiana Infantry
(Previous posts related to Ewing)

Source: Ewing Mss. Manuscripts department, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Partrick_R_Cleburne_at_the_Battle_of_Franklin

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I recently visited the brand new Museum of the Confederacy in Appommatox. Here are some pictures of the Gen Patrick Cleburne frock coat they have exhibited.

Also on display is a bridle that belonged to Patrick Cleburne.

 

A very nice crowd came out today to listen to Maury County historian Bob Duncan, talk about the history behind St. John’s Church, in Columbia, Tennessee. The church is rarely open to the public. The Franklin Civil War Round Table sponsored today’s event.

St. John’s is famous for what Confederate General Patrick R. Cleburne is supposed to have said about it in late November 1864 when he was passing it, on the way to Franklin just days later. He is supposed to have remarked to aides something to the effect, “This church is such lovely place. One would almost wish to die so one could be buried here.” Cleburne would indeed lose his life just days later at Franklin and his remains were initially interred here by Chaplain Charles Todd Quintard.

Cleburne was supposedly originally buried in this area (below) behind the church.

A memorial plaque was installed on the church exterior in 1947 and reads as follows:

Erected in 1842 for worship and spiritual instruction of white and negro people, built under
supervisions of the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk, Bishop of Louisiana, on land given by him and with labor and materials contributed by him and his brothers, R.K. Polk, G.W. Polk, L.J. Polk, and Dr. W.J. Polk. Delivered into care and custody of the Bishop of Tenn. as the property of the Diocese of Tenn.

Consecrated Sept 4, 1842, by Rt. Rev. James Hervey Otey, D.D., Bishop of Tenn., assisted by Bishop Polk.

Bishop Otey, whose remains rest in the church-yard, was born Jn. 27, 1800; consecrated in Christ Church, Philadelphia, Jan. 14, 1834; died April 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tenn.

At the Battle of Franklin in Nov. 1864, the following Confederate Generals were killed, and among others were buried in St. John’s Church-yard by Chaplain Charles Todd Qunitard, M.D., their bodies afterward being removed to their respective states.

Maj.-Gen. Patrick Cleburne   Brig. Gen. H.B. Granberry

Brig. Gen O.P. Strahl   Brig. Gen. S.R. Gist

Annual pilgrimages, held on the last Sunday in May with services led by Bishop of Tenn., were initiated in 1921.

Custody and upkeep of the property is in charge of St. John’s Association, organized May 25, 1924.

Rt. Rev. James M. Mason, D,D. President, Wm Dudley Gale, Treas.

This memorial erected 1947 by

Diocese of Tennessee

St. John’s Association

Tennessee Historical Commission

I took a lot of photos of the exterior (grounds and cemetery), the interior, and the exterior of the church itself. They are accessible from this Flickr gallery.

Historian Bob Duncan gave a very informative and entertaining talk about the church. The last regular meeting in the church was in 1915. Since then it only hosts an annual service on Whitsunday.

Vandals did a lot of damage to the church in 2001 but the community pulled together to clean it up and ready it for the annual service just a couple weeks later.

There has never been any significant restoration done to the church since its consecration in 1842. It is in remarkable condition. The bricks and wood used for the construction of the church, and its furniture, were all provided on site.

The Polk family of Columbia, Tenn., built the church as a family/plantation church.

The Washington Post announced today that the new Museum of the Confederacy, set to open in late March at Appomattox, will exhibit the coat that Gen Patrick Cleburne wore when he was killed at Franklin. It has never been exhibited before.

UPDATE: I checked with the curator at the MOC in Appomattox. The Cleburne coat they have is NOT the one he was killed in. The frock coat they have did belong to Cleburne though. The Washington Post made that claim without verifying it with the curator.

Frock coat Major General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne, CSA (Katherine Wetzel - THE MUSEUM OF THE CONFEDERACY)

“The new museum galleries will include 22 original Confederate flags—the largest such exhibit ever mounted—as well as the uniform and sword General Robert E. Lee wore at Appomattox, the pen he used to sign the surrender document and the parole he and his staff signed,” according to the Post.

March promises to be one of the most incredible hand’s on meetings we will have as we meet at St John’s Church just outside Columbia.  It was in this church’s cemetery that Patrick Cleburne, when passing it before the Battle of Franklin, noted its beauty and said it would be a good place to be laid to rest.  In a touch of irony, he was buried there after his death at Franklin until his removal to Arkansas in 1870.  Maury County historian Bob Duncan will speak at this event and show us some of the incredible gravesites of history buried there.  And for those who wish to explore more, the burial site of Sam Watkins (Company Aytch) is just a couple of miles away.  St John’s is not often open to the public, so you will not want to miss this incredible opportunity.

 

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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.

Make sure to check-out the Google Map of the Franklin Civil War Guide.
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