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The next day after the battle, December 1st, Patrick Cleburne, and three other Confederate Generals were brought to Carnton and laid out on the back porch.  Jacobson eloquently tells the story.  What about his Kepi?  His pistol?

The bodies of Confederate Generals Cleburne, Adams, Strahl and Granbury were laid out right on this porch on the morning of December 1st, 1864.

This is the authentic Kepi worn by Cleburne the day he was killed.

Image of Cleburne’s Kepi courtesy of the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN.

Want to know more?

Read the incredible true story of what happened to the once-lost pistol that belonged to Patrick Cleburne.

Carnton historian and author Eric Jacobson talks about C.S.A. General Patrick R. Cleburne’s proposal in early 1864 to arm the slaves to fight for the Confederacy. It was very poorly received by the military brass, and probably cost him any further major advancement in rank or position in the Confederate army.

What if Patrick Cleburne had been promoted instead of Hood?

The divisions of Cleburne and Brown made the assault upon the Federal works around 4:30 pm.  The shock-attach was so powerful it knocked three Federal regiments on their heels. The Rebels nearly landed a knock-out punch at Franklin.  But Emerson Opdycke’s Brigade staunched the flow and saved the day for the Federals. In the assault, Cleburne was shot through the heart.

A historical marker on the site where Cleburne’s assault and death took place honors the fallen Confederate hero. Recently, the Franklin community – through the leadership of Franklin’s Charge – recovered a one-acre piece of ground that was part of the epicenter of this assault. Read about the historic event.

Cleburne’s death was a devastating loss for the Army of Tennessee. The December 3rd edition of The New York Times headlined, “The Rebel General Cleburne Killed.”

Pistol image is used by permission of the Layland Musuem, Cleburne, texas.

I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this question, but, what if Jefferson Davis had promoted Patrick Cleburne to corps command as head of the Army of Tennessee instead of John Bell Hood in July 1864, or even earlier, perhaps even preceding Johnston?

Playing mental ping-pong with what-if-scenarios are highly conjectural, have the advantage of hindsight vision, and can be very unfair to some participants, especially of ones who made big blunders. Well . . . so. It’s still fun.

I postulate this. Had Davis promoted Cleburne instead of Hood to lead the Army of Tennessee, I think the Western theater results might have been very different. Imagine how Cleburne might have approached the Atlanta campaign differently, or especially the Franklin-Nashville campaign.

Though a certain sense of inevitability sets in at some point, meaning, one wonders if anyone on the Confederate side – at the level of Corps commander – would have made any difference having to report to Jefferson Davis, one still wonders what might-have been had someone like Cleburne been able to lead a Corps during the most desperate need for abled-body leadership on behalf of the Confederacy.

If Hood and Cleburne were in the ring together for ten rounds, I score it a knock-out by Cleburne in four!

Ding!

How do you call it?

[Scroll to the very bottom to see comments]

Carnton historian Eric Jacobson talks about the debacle that was Spring Hill – November 29, 1864 – and how it impacted Patrick Cleburne. What was Cleburne’s possible state of mind just 24 hours before the Battle of Franklin? Jacobson weighs in with some interesting thoughts.

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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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