112th Illinois soldier writes post-Franklin account

Headquarters
112th Reg Ill Vol Inf
Fort Negley-Nashville Tn
Dec 7 1864
My Dear Wife,
I hope you had a good time going to town on the 30th, and succeeded in purchasing all you required. I wish I had been with you. That was the day we had such a terrible fight at Franklin; where men fell by thousands, and where shot and shell and grape and canister rattled thick and fast, where the whistling of bullets, the roar of cannon and the yells of the mad soldiers were enough to confuse any man’s senses, and confound his mind. Oh! What a terrible day, an awful day, and one that no man who was there can ever forget. Nearly five thousand men killed in one day; upon one field, every one of whom left a wife, a mother, a sister, or perhaps children to mourn his death. War is terrible: this war is more terrible than any other, and the end is not yet (in sight). Hood’s army continues to encircle the city, but whether he will risk an attack or will move off towards Kentucky is not yet apparent. If he goes to Kentucky, as some think he will, we will follow him. In that case we will have a long and arduous campaign before us-in the midst of a cold, wet winter. I hope Hood will attack us here, for I believe we can annihilate his army if he does . . .
Yours truly,
Brad F Thompson

Source: http://tennrebgirl.com/cgi-bin/display_Items.asp?Cat=17&Sub=206

Brad Thompson was born in Osceola Illinois, enlisting as a 1st sergeant in Co B, 112th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on Aug 12, 1862. He was promoted to 2nd Lieut March 31, 1863, served as adjutant from Nov 25, 1863, and promoted to captain April 25 1865, prior to his muster out June 20th 1865.

Green Southard, 121st Ohio Infantry, writes of early December 1864

December 1: “Soon after sun up we started in the direction of Nashville. Found the Block house Station deserted and troops moving in direction  of Murfresboro no telegraph wire cut Stoped a while in Mur. and then for Nashvill wich we made without anything occuring. Camped in front of a battery. Rained.” 
December 2: “Put up tents after the rain was over and soon had to pull down. Went out about a mile formed in two lines and put up one line of works. Picket firing commenced and some artillery in the direction of Murfersboro but no news from there. Some rebs wer visible…”.
December 3: ” Rolled out at 11 AM and stood in line till day light amidst wind and rain and I shook considerably….Fort Negley spoke a few times. No musket firing near…”
December 4: “Strengthring [sic] our works. We have very good ones….Some skirmishing and cannonading on our left and front but no sign of an attack from Hood neither do I belive he intends to do so.” 
December 5: “Made a line of pickets (sharpened sticks stuck in the ground) and a line of brush work in our front twenty and fifty steps from the main line. Saw something of Gen. Steadman that I did not like. If he can manage an army he can not his own temper and he that governs his own temper so great than he that gaineth a victory.

9th TN Cavalry (partisan ranger) writes of action at Franklin

Transcription provided by Cowan’s auction:

“As November 1864 marches on, so do the Confederate troops led by Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood. Battle remarks about the excitement building among citizens in Tennessee as they anticipate Hood’s moving towards Nashville. “All in high spirits about the rebels coming half again into our old country,” he writes on November 27th. He hears the arms at the Battle of Franklin, on November 30, 1864, and writes that “The fight was terrific beyond description.”

On December 1st as the Yankees retreated towards Nashville, Battle is chased by the Yankees again, only to elude capture. Despite the Rebels devastating losses at Franklin, Battle and the men are “overjoyed” with the presence of the Confederates and “delighted at the idea of being in the rebel lines….”

Finally able to move freely in his home town of College Grove without the fear of capture, Battle begins recruiting young men for the CSA.  “The citizens of conscript age all anxious to join me. Travel around in the afternoon for recruits. Get a good many….”

Cowan’s description of the diary:

Confederate diary of Robert I. Battle, CSA surgeon turned Morgan’s Raider and Confederate spy. Diary measures 3.5 x 5.5 in., black cloth, 75 pp, in pencil. Entries are dated April 26, 1864, to June 18, 1864, then September 27, 1864, to January 4, 1865, with near daily entries during these periods during which Battle served as a scout and spy. Fascinating content details his movements through enemy lines, skirmishes with Union soldiers, the hospitality of Southern sympathizers, Union efforts to apprehend him, references to the Battles of Franklin and Nashville, and more.
Robert Irvine Battle (1842-1921) was born near Nashville, Tennessee, to Col. William Mayo Battle and Sarah Jane Smith Battle. After graduating from the Nashville Medical College in 1860, he enlisted in the Confederate Army on 6/1/1861 as a surgeon in Company B, Tennessee 20th Infantry Regiment. Sometime after the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862), Battle was captured and taken prisoner in West Tennessee. Records list him as a POW on 5/1/1862, and indicate he was confined at Johnson’s Island prison camp in Ohio on or around 5/10/1862.
After six months in prison, a prisoner exchange landed the young surgeon in Richmond, VA, where he then joined General John Hunt Morgan’s forces as part of the Tennessee 9th Cavalry. Battle’s 1921 obituary indicates that he was with General Morgan on his famous summer 1863 raid into Ohio, and that he was among the men of Co. C led by Captain J. D. Kirkpatrick who escaped capture at Buffington Island. These men then made their way on foot through West Virginia and back to the Confederate Army. The obituary then states that upon reaching the Confederate Army, Battle was made headquarters scout for General Benjamin J. Hill, assuming the role with a hand-picked group of men of whom he was made captain. In the summer and fall of 1864 and 1865, General Hill served various roles in the CSA, but remained in the Tennessee region. Like Robert Battle, General Hill was a Tennessee native, and no doubt the General selected Battle as a scout in part because of his familiarity with the territory in which they were fighting.

Union surgeon (Landis) writes of working in Hospital #1 in Nashville, late 1862

Dr. Abraham Hoch Landis wrote to his children and detailed his day-to-day activities in Hospital #1 (Nashville).

December 15, 1862 letter reads, in part:

All the churches in town and many other buildings are used for hospital purposes. The sick soldiers that I am attending are in three large rooms. Every morning when I get up and get my breakfast I go into a room and find from 10 to 15 sick men. I go from one to another and write on a piece of paper what kind of medicine each one needs, and the paper is taken to the hospital steward and he doses out the medicine. When I get through one room I go to another room until I get done. One house in town is used to keep rebels in. I went to see them one day. They were hard looking cases. It would scare you to see them, there was so much dirt on the floor that I could hardly see it and their shirts looked as if they had not been washed in a month.

Source below: HA.com

[Union Surgeon]. Dr. Abraham Landis Archive. A large archive of over 450 letters relating to Union surgeon, Dr. Abraham Landis, with approximately 189 letters from Dr. Landis, dating from April 5, 1862 – April 24, 1865. Many of the letters are accompanied by their original transmittal covers. Landis’ early letters detail about his medical work in Tennessee near Nashville. In 1863, he was captured by the Confederates at Chickamauga and was taken to Libby Prison, and the archive has two letters from his time there and one immediately after his release. About half of the letters then cover his service in the Atlanta Campaign, the Battle of Resaca, movements on and around Dallas, Georgia, and on Kennesaw Mountain. Landis was then seriously wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and his letters that follow are about his recovery in hospital.

Abraham Hoch Landis (1820-1896) joined the 35th Ohio Infantry in November 1862 at the age of 41. However, before he was mustered into the 35th OH, Landis was already helping the army in a medical capacity.