The sun goes down early in late November in Williamson County, Tennessee. The Battle of Franklin (Nov 30, 1864) was fought mostly from 4:00 to 9:00 pm. It was a beautiful Indian Summer day – around 50 degrees that day – but the sun started setting around 4:30 in the late afternoon. By 5:30 it was dark.
The most intense fighting on the Union line and breastworks would have taken place in the evening, from 6 til 9pm. There was close hand-to-hand fighting at Franklin, especially around the Fountain Branch Carter home and his cotton gin. One can only imagine the incredible scene of desperate carnage that could be seen only as musket fire flared, temporarily giving a brief flash of fire.
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated has a picture of night fighting during a “night attack on the Federal forces under Major Bowen, Occupying Salem, Mo., by the Confederate forces under Colonel Freeman, December 11th, 1861.”