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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLV: pp.

December 17

No time-stamp

  • HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Franklin, to Brigadier General R. S. GRANGER, Stevenson, from Whipple. Orders to reoccupy the railroad as far as to Decatur, details of Hood’s retreat, capturing of Ned Johnson’s division.
  • HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS, Seven Miles from Franklin, to Brigadier-General CROXTON, Commanding Brigade: orders from Wilson via Beaumont to Croxton. Hatch and Knipe are in Franklin, Croxton is push along. Told to cross the Harpeth and strike the flank on Lewisburg pike.
  • SPECIAL HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS, FIELD ORDERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Numbers 4. Johnson’s House. By order of Wilson. Orders for commanding officers for the next day, troop placements and logistics.

Time-stamp

  • 3 a.m. – HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Granny White Pike, Eight Miles from Nashville, by Brvt-Maj Gen. Wilson to BG Whipple. Says he is going to continue pursuing Hood on the road he is on, ordered Johnson to pursue via Hillsborough pike, sending Croxton and Knipe directly to Franklin pike, Hatch will strike at Brentwood. Rucker captured. Intercepts a Hood telegraph. Detail of pursuit of Hood.

  • 3:30 a.m. – CIRCULAR. HDQRS. CAV. CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Granny White Pike, Eight Miles from Nashville, from Gen Wilson. Instructions for Cavalry corps detailed: instructions for Croxton, Knipe, Hatch, and Johnson.
  • 7:30 a.m. - HEADQUARTERS DETACHMENT ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Granny White Pike. To Brigadier General J. McARTHUR, Commanding First Division: from Gen Smith. Orders to move out along the Granny White pike at 8 a.m. Rest of army will follow. Details on how Union army will proceed in the pursuit.
  • 8 a.m. - HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, DETACH. ARMY OF THE TENN., In the Field, near Nashville, Tenn., by Brig.Gen McArthur. An order to Col Hubbard to move his men at 8 a.m. on the Granny White pike in Brentwood, after the whole army unites they will march toward Franklin.
  • 9:30 a.m. MRS. OWEN’S HOUSE, Wilson Pike, Four Miles and a Half South of Brentwood, Croxton Wilson. Details his position two miles farther, scouting Nolensville pike, captured 50 prisoners, Forrest on left, 2 1/2 miles from Franklin pike. Awaits orders.
  • 1 p.m. - HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Franklin, Tenn. To Whipple from Wilson. Says Rebels are on a “great skedaddle”. The last rebels passed through “two and a half hours ago”. Discloses placement of division. Says Rebel prisoners claim a complete rout and Tennesseans are deserting. The rebel rear guard is in position on the hills just south of here.
  • 1:30 p.m. – HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Franklin,. To Whipple from Wilson. Says Rebels passed through yesterday morning. Mentions a surgeons view of a demoralized army (CSA). Forrest may have withdrawn to Murfreesboro.
  • 4 p.m. – HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Near Franklin, General JOHNSON,
    Commanding Sixth Division: from Alexander. Order for General Johnson to continue on his road, mentions movement of Knipe and Hatch too.
  • 6 p.m.HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Three Miles North of Thompson’s Station, on West Harpeth. To Whipple from Wilson. Talks of destruction of Stevenson’s division and capture of three guns. Charges by 4th Cav., Knipe and Hatch. Great deal of night firing. Hatch is a brick.
  • 7 p.m. - HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, CAVALRY CORPS, Douglas Church, Major BEAUMONT, from Croxton. Details his position on Lewisburg pike, taken 130 prisoners today, swam the Harpeth, awaiting orders.
  • 7:10 p.m. – HDQRS. CAVALRY CORPS, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Johnson’s House, Six Miles from Franklin. To Whipple from Wilson. Praises Knipe’s division for action ‘tonight’. Guns will be sent in. Army needs forage.
  • 8 p.m. - HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Franklin, Tenn. To Gen Grant from Gen. Thomas. Talks about pressing Hood’s army beyond Franklin, capturing hospitals, 1,500 wounded rebs, 250 prisoners, 5 flags, little damage to railroads, cavalry is pressing, much more detail.
  • 9 p.m. – HEADQUARTERS FOURTH ARMY CORPS, Franklin, Tenn., To Brevet Major-General WILSON, from Wood
    Commanding Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi. Talks about river so swift that he could not make a bridge. Requests pontoons.
  • 10 p.m. – NASHVILLE, TENN. Tp Major T. T. ECKERT: from Duzer. Talks about Hood just able to get his transportation away. Thomas capturing 1,000 prisoners, driving Hood across Harpeth. Fields impassable for artillery.
  • 10:50 p.m. - HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND. To Major General J. H. WILSON, Commanding Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi; from Whipple. Approves of Wilson’s course of action, mentions capturing Johnson’s division, and pushing on early in the morning.

December 18

No time-stamp

  • 18 Dec (Nashville) Chief Engineer of railroads – railroad from Nashville to Franklin is open but “back-end of the break on the Nashville & Chattanooga” was not open.
  • 18 Dec (Nashville) Quartermaster report – Cumberland river is open, captured 450 prisoners (on 17th), have taken 5,000 prisoners in all. Hood has lost most of his artillery, at least 40 pieces.

Time-stamped for 18 December 1864

  • 5 p.m. - HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Franklin, Tenn. To Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.: from Gen Thomas. Says Wilson reports he attacked Rebels at 6 p.m. (the 17th). Details action. Attack made six miles beyond Franklin.
  • 7:30 p.m. - HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Spring Hill, Tenn., from Maj-Gen. Breckinridge. Talks about continuing pursuit of Hood, 200-300 prisoners today but success in past few days.
  • 11:00 p.m. - HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, In the Field, by Maj-Gen. George H. Thomas. Talks about strategy for Decatur, Tuscumbia, sending gunboats up the Tennessee river, actions of CSA army from Murfreesboro to Columbia, mentions capture of Savannah.

NASHVILLE, TENN., December 18, 1864.

Brigadier General D. C. McCALLUM,

Superintendent of Military Railroads:

Everything is working well. Will have the railroad open to-night to Franklin, and we will follow General Thomas as fast as possible. I have parties working on the back end of the break on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and will have it opened in a few days. There is a very large amount of work blocked out for us ahead.

W. W. WRIGHT,

Chief Engineer.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 252

NASHVILLE, TENN., December 18, 1864.

Major General, M. C. MEIGS,

Quartermaster-General:

We open the Cumberland to-day. Transports here have left under convoy of the gun-boats. We captured yesterday 450 prisoners and 5 flags. We have taken in all over 5,000 prisoners, among whom are Major-General Johnson and Brigadier-Generals jackson and Smith, and over 250 commissioned officers. Besides, Hood has lost most of his artillery, over 40 pieces already reported,a nd his army is terribly shattered. He will be fortunate to reach the Tennessee River with half his original force. In his order of battle General Thomas assigned the Quartermaster’s Department an important position on interior line of works, and we held the same three days and two nights, thus enabling the general to take a considerably larger force into the field. I withdrew the men yesterday, and now the department is doing all it can to sustain the army in pursuing the enemy, giving up most of the transportation of the department for that purpose.

J. L. DONALDSON,

Chief Quartermaster.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 251

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Spring Hill, Tenn., December 18, 1864-7.30 p. m. Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

The enemy have been vigorously pursued to-day, but have studiously avoided any attack by my troops. I have succeeded in taking a few prisoners, some 200 or 300, but our captures are light in comparison with the successes of the past few days. The pursuit will be continued in the morning at as early an hour as the troops can march.

By command of Major-General Breckinridge:

J. STODDARD JOHNSTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 249

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, In the Field, December 18, 1864-11 p. m. Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
Washington:

Yours of 12.20 p. m. to-day received. I have already given orders to have Decatur occupied, and also to throw a strong column on the south side of the Tennessee toward Tuscumbia, for the purpose of capturing Hood’s depot there, if possible, and gaining possession of his pontoon bridge. I have also requested Admiral Lee to go up the Tennessee River with a fleet of gun-boats, which he has promised to do, and his vessels are no doubt already on the way. General Wilson informed me to-day that prisoners taken yesterday by him told him that Forrest, Jackson, and another division left Murfreesborough on Thursday for Columbia direct, and that Buford with another division left Murfreesborough the same day and marched continuously until he reached Spring Hill, where he assumed the duties of rear guard to the rebel army. I hope you will be able to fire a salute to-morrow in honor of the capture of Savannah.

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 249

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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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