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Lee and the Retreat from Gettysburg

Lexington, Kentucky attorney and author Kent Masterson Brown,  will be our featured guest at the July 10th edition of the Franklin Civil War Round Table.   Much has been written about the Battle of Gettysburg but little about those dramatic days that followed as General Robert E Lee and his army were on a march for survival.  Until safely intoVirginia, the Army of Northern Virginia’s position was tentative at best while Washington pushed General Meade to pursue and destroy Lee’s command.

Brown’s Retreat from Gettysburg:  Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign, has been well received and is one of the top selling “university” press editions today.  You will not want to miss this!

The Franklin Civil War Round Table meets at the Williamson Country Library, Sunday June 12th.  The event will begin at 3:00.

Historian, author and Professor Glenn W. LaFantasie from Western Kentucky University delivered a crisp and insightful talk today at the Franklin Civil War Round Table to about 80 members and guests in Franklin today.

Dr. Glenn Fantasie lectures at the FCWRT on June 11, 2011.

LaFantasie is a noted historian and author on the Gettysburg campaign (see Twilight at Little Round Top and Gettysburg Heroes) but Professor LaFantasie has turned his focus of late toward the Western Theater of war now that he is The Richard Frockt Family Professor of History Associate Professor of History at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. WKU hosts The Center for the Study of the Civil War in the West from their campus.

LaFantasie’s talk today centered on the “Mystery of Grant”.  He is working on a manuscript focusing on Grant and Lincoln presently. His talk on the mystery of Grant centered on Grant’s somewhat quiet personality. LaFantasie said that Grant was a real mystery to many people, including to himself. But when one examines Grant’s record at Shiloh one is able to conclude that Grant’s real mystery is rooted in the Union General’s intuition or gut, displayed in his bold decision to continue the fight against the Rebel army at Shiloh on day two, even though the Reb Army got the best of the Union forces on day one.

Professor LaFantasie has also authored Gettysburg Requiem: The Life and Lost Causes of Confederate Colonel William C. Oates.

I will be adding some video excepts of Dr. LaFantasie’s talk very soon. Check back.

J.H.H. Brown

James Brown, Sr.’s father – James H.H. Brown – was a member of the 8th Georgia Infantry. The 8th was in Hood’s division at Gettysburg and among the action they saw on July 2nd was fighting in the wheatfield.

CSA General John Bell Hood was wounded severely in the arm on July 2nd and was carried off the field. Hood would later lead the Army of Tennessee into middle Tennessee commanding the Confederate army at Franklin.

… The third advance was made in connection with the entire line on that part of the field, and resulted, after a conflict in the ravine of one-half hour, in the rout of the enemy from the field. This rout was vigorously pressed… The loss of the enemy was here very great, his dead lying upon the field by the hundred. Nothing but the exhausted condition of the men prevented them from carrying the heights.

[Major H. D. McDaniel, cmdg. 11th Ga. Reg., O.R. Series I, Vol XXVII, Part 2, pg. 401-402]

Elizabeth Plank wrote: “… an ambulance arrived at the farm house and without any ceremony forced open the front door and carried in a wounded officer and placed him in the guest room and the best bed in the house… all over the floors in the halls on the porches in the out buildings, on the barn floor and every place were wounded men… many limbs and arms were amputated and their wounds dressed, while the battle raged. These wounded soldiers were left at this hospital five or six weeks after the fight. Every morning they buried their dead in shallow graves in the orchards…”

[From "A Vast Sea of Misery" by Gregory Coco, p. 143]

“… The third advance was made in connection with the entire line on that part of the field, and resulted, after a conflict in the ravine of one-half hour, in the rout of the enemy from the field. This rout was vigorously pressed… The loss of the enemy was here very great, his dead lying upon the field by the hundred. Nothing but the exhausted condition of the men prevented them from carrying the heights.”
[Major H. D. McDaniel, cmdg. 11th Ga. Reg., O.R. Series I, Vol XXVII, Part 2, pg. 401-402]
Read the 17th Maine Infantry’s Adjutant Charles W. Roberts’ account “At Gettysburg in 1863 and 1888.”

csa_wheatfield_brown by you.

For a more complete story of the wheatfield action see.

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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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