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James Tolerton was from Columbia City when he enlisted in 1863 as Assistant Surgeon with the 129th Indiana Infantry. The 129th participated in Hood’s Middle Tennessee campaigns in Columbia, Franklin and Nashville.  The 129th was in Moore’s Brigade, Ruger’s Division.

Image source: Indiana in the Civil War, Arcadia Publishing

George W. Allison was born in May, 1840 in Ohio and died on April 18, 1917 in Allen County, Ohio.

He first married Mary Mills on November 18, 1860 in Allen County, Ohio.  Their children were William Henry Allison (1860-1940) and John Allison (1862-____).

Mary Mills Allison died in 1871.  In 1883, George married Rebecca Bryan Wade (1849-1924), widow of Thomas C. Wade (1840-1882) in Ohio.  Rebecca had five children by her first marriage and, after marrying George, had two more children, Rush N. Allison (1884-1959) and Nora Allison (1885-____).

George was with the 50th Ohio Infantry following Hood northward through Tennessee when the 50th merged with the 99th Ohio Infantry at Duck River, Columbia, Tennessee on December 31, 1864.  His Civil War Pension document shows that he served with both regiments and has Rebecca Allison as his beneficiary.

Picture at right is circa 1883.

gen_Ruger_CDV

Civil War Union Major General. The son of an Episcopal minister, he was born in Lima, New York, and at the age of 13, he and his family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin. Entering West Point in 1850, he would graduate 3rd in the class of 1854, however only nine months later he would resign from the Corps of Engineers and returned to Janesville, where he opened his own law office. On June 29, 1861, he reentered the army as executive officer of a volunteer infantry regiment, the 3rd Wisconsin. On September 1st he became the outfit’s Colonel. By then he was serving under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where early in 1862 the Federals waged a frustrating campaign against Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Foot Cavalry. He suffered through Major General John Pope’s Second Bull Run Campaign, serving conspicuously at Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862. At Antietam, he led the 3rd Brigade/1st Division/XII Corps/Army of the Potomac, taking a wound while fighting near the West Woods. Once he was back on his feet, he was given a Brigadier General’s star and led his brigade at Chancellorsville. There he labored to stem the rout of the XII Corps following Jackson’s flank offensive of May 2, 1863. His efforts on this field and others so impressed his immediate superior, Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams, that at Gettysburg although not his senior subordinate, Williams gave his division to him, when Williams moved up to corps command. (Henry W. Slocum commanded the army’s right wing) On July 2, 1863, he justified such faith by his judicious placement of troops along Culp’s Hill, ensuring that the next day’s attack on the far Federal right would fail. For this action in 1867, he would receive a brevet to Brigadiet General in the regular army. After Gettysburg, he was sent to New York City to help bring order to the Draft Riots. That October his troops were transferred West, where he led his brigade in guarding the supply lines during the Battle of Chattanooga. The division received this duty because Slocum refused to fight under Joe Hooker, and the corps sent only one division into the fight so that Slocum could have his way. He retained brigade command in the merger of the 11th and 12th Corps the following spring. In 1864 he participated in Major General William T. Sherman’s Georgia Campaign as a brigade and later a division commander. Accompanying Major General George H. Thomas to Tennessee that fall, he fought gallantly at the battle of Franklin in command of a XXIII Corps division. He was brevetted Major General of Volunteers for his heroics. He was disabled by sickness and missed the Battle of Nashville being replaced by Major General D. N. Couch. With most of the XXIII Corps he was transferred to the North Carolina coast where he served under Major General John M. Schofield, notably at Kinston and during the occupation of Wilmington. He also was able to join Sherman for the surrender of Joe Johnston’s army. He continued on duty until being mustered out on September 1, 1866. He became Colonel of the 33rd and later the 18th United States Infantry, these being two of the newly created regular army infantry regiments after the war. He would rise to the rank of Major General and serve as Superintendent of West Point from 1871 to 1876. From 1876 to 1878 he served as commander of the Department of the South. Transferred to the frontier, he served as commander of the District of Montana from 1878 to 1885. Here his two biggest responsibilities were fighting Indians and protecting the railway system to the West Coast. He would retired in 1897. (bio by: Ugaalltheway)

Gen. Thomas H. Ruger

Gen. Thomas H. Ruger

Cowan’s recently auctioned off several items related to Gen. Thomas H. Ruger, who commanded at the Battle of Franklin.

In the first week of November, Ruger was offered command of a Division in 28th Corps in Tennessee under George Thomas unless Sherman and Slocum (who did not want to have him leave their command) could offer him one. Ruger describes his meeting with Sherman:

“I gave [Sherman] Gen. Slocum’s letter and remarked that if the two Corps of the Army of the Cumberland the 14th and 20th were to be operated as an army it would place Gen. Williams in command of the 20th Corps and that would give me the Division during the campaign at least. He shook his head and said enough to let me know he had no such intention and directed the order for my transfer to be made out, said that it was not a good plan to ‘stay too long in one hole’ and besides Gen Schofield was very anxious to have me come.”

He received command of 2nd Div., 28 Corps, shortly before the Battle of Franklin, where he would earn a lasting reputation.

Nov. 28: “I want you to make your position perfectly secure so as to render it impossible for the enemy to effect a crossing at that place. You may retain the guns which you have without horses even at the risk of losing them. If the bridge is not sufficiently burned to render it useless to the enemy complete it tonight under the cover of darkness….”

At 8 a.m. on the 29th, word the order went out “The enemy is coming in force above us,” ordering Ruger to leave a regiment to guard the river.

When it was over, Ruger described the Battle of Franklin to his wife:

“The attack of the enemy was very strong and determined much the hardest I have seen west a good deal like the attacks of [Stonewall] Jackson. We repulsed the enemy with loss, but as A.J. Smith’s command and other were not up we fell back here where they are for concentration. The force we had was much smaller than the enemy….”

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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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