I wrote previously about the Royce home being confiscated by the Federal troops in Franklin in the spring of 1863. It was then destroyed and the materials used to construct Fort Granger.
Here’s a VERY important fact I just learned about the whole story of the Royce home being destroyed.
Betsy Royce, daughter, says that the family left the house on April 16th, 1863, after only being given four days’ notice. That means they were given notice on the 12th of April to evacuate by the 16th. What happened just two days before the Royce family was told to leave? The first Battle of Franklin (April 10, 1863) with Van Dorn’s raid into Franklin was fought. The backdrop for the Royce evacuation was that engagement.
Add this, from researching the construction of Fort Granger . . . the fort had been worked on since just mid March. Barely four weeks into its construction, Van Dorn attacks. That event added a sense of “haste” to the construction process because I also learned that Gen Granger formally announced after April 10th that the work details would now be 24×7 or around the clock.
“After the 10th of April work on the fort was pushed with greater energy . . . all of the available men not actually on duty elsewhere must be marched to the fort . . . that order held until May 18th . . .” – Col. Emerson Opdycke, 125th Ohio Infantry
Where is all this going? It seems quite obvious to me that Van Dorn’s attack in Franklin in early-mid April caused Gen Granger to significantly speed up the fort’s construction. To that end, Gen Granger looked around Franklin and clearly identified at least one home – the Royce home – that was deemed aiding the Confederate efforts. The Royce home would be a natural choice based on Moses Royce – the owner – who was an escort on Starne’s staff under Forrest. Needing good materials with which to construct the fort, Granger targeted the Royce home. I wonder if other homes were targeted too.
Interestingly, I know for a fact that Col Emerson Opdycke (125th Ohio) sought subsistence and lodging from widow Neeley during this time. The Federals left her home alone even though she was a Confederate. All very interesting detail of the ins and outs of Civil War Franklin in the spring of 1863.
Source: Williamson County and the Civil War: As Seen Through the Female Experience. Rick Warwick. 2008