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Franklin’s adopted Civil War son, Harold Becker, turns 92 today. You will recall his father, Charles Conrad Becker, fought in the 128th Indiana at Franklin. I’ve blogged on Harold and the reburial event we had recently many times before.

Funny story . . . Harold told me he was born on October 30th and his brother was born November 1st. For years his mother always celebrated BOTH their birthdays on Halloween, October 31st. He told me he was much older before he even realized his birthday was actually on October 30th!

Civil War sons James Brown, Sr. and Haorld Becker

Picture courtesy of Al Wagner Photography.

Here are some highlights of some of the very interesting things we learned about Mr Harold Becker this weekend:

  1. Harold admits he was the “most spoiled kid” in Michigan growing up, essentially being raised by three old maids.
  2. He attempted to get into the military in the early 1940s but his right eye was bad and was designated for “limited service”. Harold was not happy about that, claiming, “Gimme a rifle and I’ll show you I can out shoot all those boys!”
  3. Harold’s grand-father came to America from Germany in the late 1840s and headed off to San Francisco in 1849 during the “Gold Rush”. He was never heard from again.
  4. He was a personal friend of then-Congressman Gerald R. Ford, while maintaining that friendship even when Ford was President.
  5. Harold’s first car was a Model-T Ford passed down to him from his father.
  6. He has been married to Dorothy for 68 years. The secret? “Make sure you kiss your wife before you go to bed, and don’t go to bed mad.”
  7. Harold says his favorite baseball player of all-time was Ted Williams.
  8. He attended the Chicago World’s Fair – Century of Progress – in 1933 with his Dad.
  9. Harold still has his father’s – Charles Conrad Becker’s – original Enfield musket. It was used at the battle of Franklin.
  10. He told me that the events of this weekend were a “real highlight” of his life.

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We took Mr and Mrs Becker to the Carter house grounds before they left for Michigan this morning. Here are some highlights of our visit. We also took him to a spot at Lewisburg Pike, and to McGavock Cemetery.

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Harold Becker at Carter grounds.

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Mr Becker was very impressed with the bullet damage in the Carter smokehouse building walls.

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Mr Becker's father - Charles Conrad Becker - was a rifleman for the 128th Indiana.

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Mr Becker was just amazed with the Carter grounds.

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James Brown, seated left, and Harold Becker, seated right, attend the graveside service for an unknown Civil War soldier in Franklin, Tenn., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. Brown, 97, of Knoxville, Tenn., is the son of a Confederate soldier who fought at Shiloh and Gettysburg, and Becker, 91, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is the son of a Union soldier who fought in the Battle of Franklin. The unknown soldier’s body was accidentally unearthed from a shallow grave by construction workers. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Civil War sons Harold Becker and James Brown, Sr., meet for first time.

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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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