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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

NASHVILLE, TENN., December 17, 1864-10 p. m.

Major T. T. ECKERT:

Just in from the front. Enemy made only sufficient resistance to-day to enable him to get his transportation away. General Thomas crowded him as much as possible, and has captured 1,000 prisoners, driving enemy across Harpeth River, but not securing bridges by which he crossed. Cavalry forded and engaged on south bank, when night overtook us. Have captured no guns or wagons so far as I know. Hood is in rapid retreat, and the state of ground is such as to confine pursuit to pike roads, cross-roads and fields impassable for artillery or transportation. Stragglers and rear guard will be picket up daily; not much else.

J. C. VAN DUZER.

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

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 232

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND, Near Franklin, Tenn., December 17, 1864-8 p. m.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT:

We have pressed the enemy to-day beyond Franklin, capturing his hospitals, containing over 1,500 wounded, and about 150 of our wounded. In addition to the above, General Knipe, commanding a division of cavalry, drove the enemy’s rear guard through Franklin to-day, capturing about 250 prisoners and 5 battle-flags, with very little loss on our side. Citizens of Franklin represent Hood’s army as completely demoralized. In addition to the captures of yesterday, reported in my dispatch of last night, I have the honor to report the capture of General Rucker and about 250 prisoners of the enemy’s cavalry, in a fight that occurred about 8 o’clock last night between General Rucker and General Hatch, of our cavalry. The enemy has been pressed to-day both in front and on both flanks. Brigadier-General Johnson succeeded in striking him on the flank just beyond Franklin, capturing quite a number of prisoners, number not yet reported. My cavalry is pressing him closely to-night, and I am very much in hopes of getting many more prisoners to-morrow. Luckily, but little damage has been done the railroad, and I expect to have trains close up to the army to-morrow night. I have just heard from General Stoneman, at Kingsport, under date of the 13th instant. He left Knoxville on the 10th, overtook Duke’s (formerly Morgan’s) command on the 12th, and during the night drove him across the North Fork of Holston River. Next morning crossed the river and attacked, captured and killed nearly the whole command, taking the entire wagon train. Colonel R. C. Morgan, a brother of John Morgan, is, with many other officers, a prisoner. Duke’s command is considered completely destroyed. The fighting was done by Gillem’s command and the Thirtieth Kentucky, of General Burbridge’s command. Stoneman in motion for Bristol, where he hopes to intercept Vaughn. A part of the captured train was that lost by Gillem on retreat from Bull’s Gap. I now consider the Cumberland perfectly safe from Nashville down, and have directed the chief quartermaster to commence shipping stores up it immediately. As there is also a fair prospect for another rise in the Tennessee River, I have requested Admiral Lee to send some iron-clads and gun-boats up that river, to destroy Hood’s pontoon bridge, if possible, and cut off his retreat.

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General, Commanding.

(Same to Major-General Halleck.)

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

You are currently in Volume XLV | Page 229

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, December 17, 1864-10 a. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Burlington, N. J.:

Thomas victorious yesterday. Hood’s army broken; driven back to the Brentwood Hills; many prisoners and cannon taken; pursuit to be renewed to-day. Our loss not over 300.+ Sherman took Fort McAllister Wednesday. If you start soon there is yet time for your report to be made as promised. Details will be sent you soon as possible, but the telegraph works badly. Dispatches from Foster are being received, and a messenger with sealed dispatches from Sherman has reached Fortress Monroe on his way up.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

—————

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 45, Part 2 (Franklin – Nashville)

Page 228 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LVII.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
MEDICAL DIRECTOR’S OFFICE, January 12, 1865.

Bvt. Brigadier General W. HOFFMAN, U. S. Army,

Commissary-General of Prisoners:

SIR: The information you have received concerning the collecting together the wounded rebel prisoners at Columbia and Pulaski, Tenn., and to which you refer in the communication of the 2nd instant, and which has been referred to me, is correct. In consequence of these towns being on the line of Hood’s retreat, many of the prisoners who had been wounded at Franklin and were being carried to the rear were left there. These were augmented in number by the wounded brought in from the rear guard of the rebel army. As soon as it was learned that wounded rebels in any number were at Columbia and Pulaski Surg. O. Q. Herrick, superintendent of transportation of sick and wounded, was directed to have them removed to Nashville as soon as the railroad would be opened. On December 19, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, U. S. Volunteers, superintendent and director U. S. general hospitals at Nashville, was ordered by telegram to designate and set aside for the reception of the rebel wounded a hospital of capacity sufficient for the whole number, and directions were at the same time sent prohibiting the entrance of visitors. On the same day a telegram was sent to the superintendent of sick and wounded to scour the country from Brentwood Heights to Spring Hill and bring into Franklin and Nashville such as would bear transportation. On the 22nd of December, 1864, Surgeon Herrick was telegraphed to remove to Nashville, as soon as the road would be opened, all the rebel wounded at Columbia, as well as to collect all from the surrounding country and bring them in. On the 28th ultimo Surgeon Herrick received similar instructions regarding the wounded rebels at Pulaski. On the 30th of December, 1864, Surgeon Brinton, superintendent of hospitals at Nashville, was directed to make use of such of the rebel surgeons as he might require in the treatment of the rebel wounded, being informed at the same time that, previous to putting them on duty, it was absolutely necessary for them to be put upon their written parole by the provost-marshal-general Department of the Cumberland. From all this it may be observed that everything was done in order to have the rebels properly cared for, both as sick men and prisoners of war. As soon as the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad shall be opened every wounded rebel in our possession whose life will not be endangered by so doing will be brought to Nashville, and not only those in the hospitals but those, too, who are scattered in the farm-houses through the country.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. E. COOPER,

Surgeon, U. S. Army, Medical Director.

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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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