THE LATE BATTLE OF FRANKLIN
THOMAS CONCENTRATED AT NASHVILLE
EAST TENNESSEE TO BE DEVASTATED
Official from General Thomas’ Army, Washington , Dec 4, 1864.
The latest official information from the army of General Thomas is, that he has so concentrated the forces at the fortifications of Nashville , as to be prepared for any movement which General Hood may venture to make.
Further Facts About the Fight
Nashville , Dec 2. 1864
Gen. Wood succeeds Gen Stanley in command of the Fourth Corps, Gen Stanley being unable to take the field, his desperate bravery at the fight at Franklin mainly contributing to turn what threatened to be a disastrous repulse into a most glorious victory.
When part of Gen. Stanley’s command had ran away before the charge of the Rebels, he rushed to the front, had a horse shot under him and was himself wounded, yet still he led on the charge, waving his hat in the air and calling on his men to follow him.
He succeeded in rallying his faltering troops, replying seven successive charges made by the Rebels.
Col. Opdycke, of the 125th Ohio , commanding a brigade, specially distinguished himself in the engagement.
Col. Schofield, a brother to Gen. Schofield, and his chief of Artillery, distinguished himself by the admirable positions in which he placed the Artillery and the manner in which he fought.
The great importance of the victory at Franklin cannot be over estimated, as it checked Gen. Hood’s onward course, and gave the Unionists time to make due preparations to meet him.
Generals Schofield and Stanley command Corps in full.
Nashville , Friday, Dec. 2, 1864
There has been slight skirmishing between ours and the Rebel cavalry all day.
A complete line of intrenchments encircle the city.
A portion of our cavalry force encountered the Rebel cavalry three miles from this city on the Franklin pike.
The Rebels could be plainly seen advancing toward them. Our troops then retired toward the city. Night coming on, but few occasional shots were fired.
It is rumored that Gen. Hood is endeavoring to cross the Cumberland River with a large cavalry force.
Many experienced officers predict a heavy engagement tomorrow.
Our forces occupy lines around the city, are in line-of-battle.
Three soldiers were shot and killed by the guards in the streets of the city this evening. Their names are: Arthur L. Cheasy of the Eighth Kansas; John McCartly of the Thirtieth Indiana, and Joseph Brant of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry.
Nashville , Tenn. Dec. 4, 1864
No new developments have taken place today, except that our army still encircles the city on the south-east, its wings resting on the Cumberland River . The enemy’s lines are clearly to be seen from high points in the suburbs and from the Capitol. They are intrenching themselves in a south-western direction about three miles from the city. During the day heavy skirmishing occurred on our left and progressed along the lines to the center. Many persons witnessed cannonading. Along the right of our lines nothing of importance transpired today.
The general opinion is that Hood will attack the Union forces in front of Nashville.
A Union cavalry force has patrolled the north bank of the river, at the fords to prevent cavalry from crossing, as numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made by them to cross since the 1st instant.
Johnsonville has been evacuated, and the road has been interrupted, and part of the trains from there are advancing to this point by land.
It is rumored here today that Forrest has placed a pontoon bridge across the river above the city, and that Marmaduke has occupied Johnsonville. Both are without foundation.
The first block house on the Chattanooga Road , four miles from the city, defended by negroes, commanded by Col. Johnson of the colored infantry, who surrendered Dalton, Ga., and was paroled, held out until this afternoon, when they surrendered, Col. Johnson and a portion of his men escaping on a train; the remainder were captured. The train was fired into. Several jumped from the train into the river and escaped, Col. Johnson among them, who is in the city tonight.
A reconnoitering party sent Thursday, returned today, having gone 80 miles up the river, They report that no Rebels were seen or heard crossing the River, and none appeared along the banks.
A Rebel deserter, who came in today, reports that Gen. S.D. Lee published an order to his men Friday morning, complimenting them on their bravery, devotion, and thanking them for the victory won at Franklin, and assuring them that if true to themselves now in front of Nashville, they would soon be enabled to enter and take possession of a vast amount of stores contained therein.
Two prisoners were brought in today, Lieut. Hickman, 9th Tennessee cavalry, four miles from the city, and C.H. Gardy of Ford’s 48th Georgia infantry.
The water on the shoals is nine feet deep and still rising.
Cincinnati , Dec. 3, 1864
The correspondent for The Gazette, writing from Nashville , gives the following particulars of the battle of Franklin , Tennessee :
The plan of the battle was very simple. We had no time, in fact, to get up a complete plan, as the enemy pressed us too sorely, and obliged us to fight him.
The original plan was to withdraw the force of General Schofield until the meeting of our reinforcements, and then give battle in the vicinity of Nashville; but the over sanguine Rebels pressed us too hard, and, when Schofield perceived he could not avoid a contest, he drew up his little army in line of battle in front of Franklin.
At half past three the assault was commenced by the Rebels. Cheatham’s corps was on the right, Stewart’s on the left, and S.D. Lee’s, in reserve, on the centre.
Cheatham threw his whole corps on Wagner’s division with great impetuosity, and after an hour’s desperate fighting, he pushed Wagner back on our second line, where Wagner’s men became mingled with those of Cox’s and Ruger’s, on our left and center.
The Rebels, encouraged by their success, in driving back Wagner, with loud cheers advanced on our second line.
Their order of advance was very peculiar – a semicircle of two regiments deep extending all our lines, and behind each alternate regiment was placed four others, so that the assaulting columns were six regiments deep.
Gen. Hood appeared about four o’clock p.m. at the head of his command, and pointing toward our lines, said, “Break those lines boys, and you have finished the war in Tennessee . Break them, and there is nothing to oppose your march from Nashville to the Ohio River .”
Loud and ringing cheers answered the words of the Rebel leader, while the whole space in front of our lines was crammed with the advancing enemy.
Capt. Lyman, commanding the artillery brigade in the Fourth Corps, had placed his batteries in most favorable positions, and from these storms of shot and shell were hurled in to the charging Rebel ranks.
With the most reckless bravery still the Rebels rushed on, and when within a few hundred yards of our works our boys opened upon them so terrible a fire of musketry, that it seemed as if it were impossible for anything to live before it.
But no wavering was perceived in those advancing Rebel lines. On they came to the very parapets of our works, and stuck their bayonets under the logs on our battlements.
On the Columbus pike the pressure upon our lines was so great that some of Cox’s and Wagner’s men temporarily gave way.
Up to this time the brigade commanded by Col. Opdycke, of the 125th Ohio , had been held in reserve.
Col. Opdycke, by the orders of Gen. Stanley, rushed forward with his brigade to restore our broken line.
The Rebels who had crawled over our works had not time to retire, and Cox’s and Wagner’s men, who had broken away but a moment before, rallied and attacked the enemy on the flank, while Opdycke charged on the front.
A desperate hand-to-hand fight ensued with bayonets and the butt end of muskets.
A hundred Rebels were captured here and the line was restored.
For tow hours and a half the battle now raged all along our lines.
The men of the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps vied with each other in bravery.
Riley’s brigade of the Twenty-third Corps fairly covered the ground in front of it with Rebel dead.
The Rebel General Adams was killed. He and his horse fell into a ditch in front of the 104th Ohio .
Seventeen distinct attacks of the enemy were repelled.
At dusk the Rebels were repulsed at all points, but the firing did not cease until 9 o’clock at night.
At least 5,000 Rebels were killed, wounded and captured, while our loss will probably reach 1,500.
We have taken from the enemy thirty flags. Some regiments, among them the Seventeenth Ohio, taking a half dozen each.
General Schofield directed the battle from the fort on the north bank of the stream, where some heavy guns and the batteries of the Twenty-third Corps were placed, which did great service in damaging the enemy’s right wing.
Nashville , Tenn. , Dec. 2, 1864
The enemy has been wary to day and has demonstrated with great caution against our outer line, which is carefully constructed and extends from river to river, with a radius of two and a half miles from the capitol, on the roads south of the city.
The enemy’s cavalry has been in plain view all day on the Franklin pike.
Just before dusk our cavalry pushed out toward the enemy’s line, causing him to retire.
Afterward the Rebels were reinforced. They ten took up their own line at once, and threw out skirmishers.
Some skirmishing subsequently occurred, neither party sustaining any loss.
No Rebel infantry has yet been developed.
Some firing occurred this afternoon on the left. Only a few shits were fired.
The defense are being hourly strengthened, and no apprehensions need be felt for the safety of the city.
Louisville , Ky. , Saturday, Dec. 3, 1864
The Journal of this city has the following:
A letter from Nashville states that on Wednesday evening Capton’s brigade of cavalry, consisting of the 14thIllinois, the 7th Ohio, the 5th Iowa, and the 8th Michigan cavalry regiments, was surrounded by the Rebels and only escaped by the most desperate fighting. They cut their way through the Rebel lines and found General Thomas in the rear of Franklin .
The same evening a train of cars was captured by the Rebels at Brentwood, nine miles from Nashville , on the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad.
A citizens in Nashville engaged in no ostensible business have been ordered to leave the city.
Six hundred and ninety-one Rebel prisoners, captured by Gen. Thomas in the battle of Franklin , arrived here last night on the train from Nashville . They will be sent forward to Camp Douglas as rapidly as possible, in order to make room in the military prisons here for further captures that may be made.
Louisville , Ky. , Saturday, Dec. 3, 1864
Yesterday the rolling stock of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was ordered hither. Today the order was countermanded.
A street rumor represents that the Union forces were repulsed at Clarksville today. The story grew out of a dash of the Rebels into Gallatin yesterday, where they captured about 200 head of beeves. Our forces are pursuing, and will probably capture the raiders.
Latest from Nashville
Nashville , Saturday, Dec. 3, 1864
The enemy developed a regular line of battle about two miles from our works, between the Franklin and Hardin pikes. Our batteries opened about two o’clock. The Rebel lines did not advance. There has been skirmishing all evening, the enemy fortifying along our front. There are indications that there will be a fight tomorrow.
Riley’s brigade, which captured eighteen flags at Franklin , belongs to the 4th Division of Schofield’s Corps, not to the 4th Corps, as erroneously stated. This brigade particularly distinguished itself in the fight. I have seen the flags, bloody and torn, displayed in front of Gen. Schofield’s quarters.
The fullest security is felt in Nashville .