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One of the must-stops in Franklin for a battlefield site is Cleburne Park. It sits at the corner of Stewart Street and Columbia Pike, just a few blocks south of the Carter House. This small park is the approximate location where Major-General Patrick R. Cleburne was killed. It was formerly the site for a Pizza Hut until the land was preserved and returned to a park-like setting. The land reclamation project made national news, even in National Geographic.

You can watch a YouTube video of Eric Jacobson talking about this hallowed spot.

It was a beautiful day today – April 17th 2010 – for the opening day ceremony for the newly reclaimed and preserved battlefield property that was originally part of the Carter family garden. As Eric Jacobson has stated:

“The significance of the western edge of the Carter garden cannot be overstated. Around 4:30 p.m. on November 30, 1864, elements of Gen. John Brown’s Confederate Division ripped through the main Federal line of defense west of Columbia Pike. Among the units forced to withdraw was the 72nd Illinois Infantry, which held the section of the line which cuts through the garden property. The Illinois troops fell back to a reserve line held by the 44th Missouri Infantry. Only a firm stand by the Missourians prevented Brown’s troops from collapsing more of the Federal defensive position. The garden property was enveloped by a hail of relentless fire for hours and three separate charges made by Federal troops to retake the main line were unsuccessful. The Confederates held the outside of the main line until they started to withdraw around 9 p.m.”

The ceremony today was filled with many sights and sounds, including dignataries, out of town guests, reenactors (both soldiers and civilians, children, residents; fans-all of the Battle of Franklin.

To see all of the videos I took today, go to my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/bloghistorian

To see all of the pictures I took today visit my Flickr photo gallery.

Battle of Franklin Trust chairman Marianne Schroer spoke first.

Civil War Preservation Trust staff person Rob Shenk gave a few opening remarks.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edH3ZvC94LY]

Historian and resident-story teller Thomas Cartwright was his usual inspiring self.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIJ10kzo3t8]

Historian and Battle of Franklin Trust operations director Eric Jacobson shared appropriate words for the occasion.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-qBug7DbJg]

After the ceremony the Rebs and Federals provided a demonstration of the action in the Carter gardens.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcLEcu8HjZg]

Wow.

Maybe because it was on the heels of the reburial of the unknown Civil War soldier this past weekend, or maybe because Monday Night Football was unappealing – whatever the cause . . . some 120+ people came out to Carnton plantation tonight to hear and participate in a lecture with Carnton historian and author Eric Jacobson, and professor and author Thomas Flagel.

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Thomas Flagel is an energetic and provocative speaker.

They came to learn about the “cause(s) of the American Civil War.”  And learn they did. The historians laid the ground-work for the evening by taking 5-7 minutes each – for the first 45 minutes – and hitting topics like; the major political events prior to 1860 in America that influenced the environment for a divided country in 1860; the demagoguery and manipulations of the politicians in the mid 19th century; the political principles and values of the politicians who were protecting the interests of the wealthy elite in the South, and many other pertinent issues.

The discussion was balanced, rational, and moved quickly through the evening. After the historians talked for 45 minutes combined, they opened the floor for Q/A.  Hands immediately flew up.  Many hands were raised by young people in their 20s and 30s. In fact, the demographics of the 120+ crowd had as many under-30s as over-30s. There were excellent questions asked as the historians spontaneously responded through a generous give-and-take style.

Carnton will host a November lecture on the 6th; the topic?  John Bell Hood!

Get there early, the seats will fill quickly.

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Historian Eric Jacobson engages the 120+ person standing room only crowd at Carnton tonight.

A good size crowd of Williamson County residents showed up at the Carter House location near downtown Franklin tonight (11.30) to commemorate the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.  There were 10,000 luminaries (white bags with a lighted candle) to symbolize the 10,000 casualties from the battle that took place 30 November 1864.

Historian and author Erik A. Jacobson spoke for about ten minutes.

Part One

Part two

The Civil War bands played the Star Spangled Banner

Here are some pictures of the event.

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Eric A. Jacobson, Carnton historian, and author of the best-selling For Cause and for Country, spoke on Friday, June 19th, 2008, at the Franklin’s Charge press conference. He gave great detail on the action between the Federal and Rebel soldiers on the very site of the property that was just purchased by Franklin’s Charge. It is believed that the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin took place precisely on this spot.

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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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