December 2, 1864 New York Times stories about Franklin

Hood’s Advance at Spring Hill, Tenn., Thirty-two Miles South of Nashville.

Franklin, the scene of the great victory over HOOD on Thursday, is the capital of Williamson County, Tenn., and is situated on the south bank of Big Harpeth River, about 18 miles from Nashville, on the line of the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. Before the war it was a beautiful village, with a population of about 2,000 people. Franklin has changed hands several times during the war. After VAN DORN’s success in capturing a Union brigade at Spring Hill, near Franklin, in March, 1863, that rebel Commander moved upon the latter place, which he attacked on the 10th of April. Major-Gen. GORDON GRANGER was in command of the village. His forces comprised two infantry divisions of 1,600 men, 2,000 cavalry under SMITH and STANLEY, and eighteen guns. The only artificial defence was an uncompleted fort, which mounted two siege guns and two three-inch rifled guns. VAN DORN’s force was estimated at nine thousand infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The rebels were handsomely repulsed, losing three hundred, while GRANGER’s total loss was only thirty-seven. The town proper is built upon an open, level spot; but circling round to the west and south of it are the Harpeth Hills. Big Harpeth River has its source in Bedford County, and flows northwest through Williamson, past the town of Franklin, enters Davidson County, and falls into the Cumberland River thirty-five miles below this city, after a general comparative course of sixty miles.

NASHVILLE, Wednesday, Nov. 30 — Midnight RECEIVED Dec. 1 — 9 A. M. Heavy skirmishing for the past few days, and still going on between our troops and FORREST. There was a sharp fight yesterday at Spring Hill, twelve miles south of Franklin. Our cavalry was driven back on our infantry lines which checked the enemy. A squad of rebel prisoners were in charge of these troops, when the rebel cavalry made a dash on them, releasing their men and capturing ours. A train was attacked near Harpeth River. The engineer detached the locomotive, and both are supposed to be captured. The rest of the train was saved. A squad of rebel cavalry dashed across the Chattanooga line yesterday, near Cheshire, tearing up the track. The train was detained all night, but came in next morning. Our troops have fallen back around Franklin. The main part of HOOD’s army is across Duck River. Every indication of a heavy battle in a few days, but we are confident of the result.

Most Desperate Attack

NASHVILLE, Thursday, Dec. 1. Parties who have arrived from the front, and who witnessed the battle of yesterday, describe the attack of the rebel forces as desperate. Four charges were made upon the Federal masked batteries in columns four lines deep. Each time the rebels were repulsed with fearful loss. The fort is on the north bank of the river, opposite the town, extending up the river, and encircling the town was the line of masked batteries. Eye-witnesses say that this engagement, in desperation and furious fighting, was hardly equaled by the battle of Stone River. FORREST in person was on the field rallying his men. A rumor is in circulation that he was killed, but it lacks confirmation. About 7 o’clock last night heavy reinforcements reached SCHOFIELD, which caused a complete rout of the rebel forces. The city to-day is full of fleeing residents of Williamson and other counties south. They state HOOD it gathering up all the horses, hogs and mules that he can find, and sending them south. There is great panic among the negroes in the counties south of Nashville. Numbers are fleeing to the city for protection.

Tennessee — A Severe Battle

WASHINGTON, Thursday, Dec. 1. The following official dispatch concerning the report of the victory in Tennessee, has been received at headquarters: FRANKLIN, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov. 30. FRANKLIN, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov. 30. Major-Gen. Thomas: The enemy made a heavy and persistent attack with two corps, commencing at 4 P.M., and lasting till after dark. He was repulsed at all points, with heavy loss — probably of five or six thousand men. Our loss is probably not more than one-fourth of that number. We have captured about one thousand prisoners, including one Brigadier-General. (Signed,) JOHN SCHOFIELD, Major-General.

The Fierce Battle in Tennessee

The one-legged rebel HOOD has again put in practice the system of quick, furious, persistent and desperate assault by which he and Stonewall JACKSON have been distinguished on the rebel side; and he has met with the same bloody luck which befell him when he tried the same thing at Atlanta. The battle between HOOD and THOMAS, on Wednesday afternoon, at Franklin, Tenn., eighteen miles south of Nashville, regarding which we have both official and unofficial dispatches, was indecisive. Only two of the four corps of the enemy are reported as being engaged, and so far as their repulse is concerned, it is eminently satisfactory. There is no difficulty, after reading the vivid dispatches of our special correspondent, in crediting the statements as to the enormous and disproportionate losses of the rebels in this battle. The gallant and conservative SCHOFIELD, who commanded on the occasion, states the rebel loss at five or six thousand, and our correspondent puts it at a still higher figure, while our own casualties were under a thousand. This disparity is accounted for by the circumstance that our men fought behind breastworks established in an open field, and by our wholesale use of grape and canister upon the enemy. It is reported that the rebels made four successive charges in columns four lines deep; but their furious assaults resulted in failure to carry the position. They were permitted to dash themselves against our works, and HOOD threw them forward with a recklessness of life equal to anything he has ever displayed during the four months he has had command of the rebel army in the Southwest. In the course of the evening after the battle, Gen. THOMAS retired his army to the vicinity of Nashville. This we judge to be a strategic movement, very like what might have been expected from the imperturbable and far-seeing Gen. THOMAS, who looks to the final result and general summing up of a campaign more than to partial and brilliant victories. He knows HOOD of old, and understands his style thoroughly. He will effect two, and perhaps, three or four objects by planting himself behind the works of Nashville. He will combine his forces in a compact body, with the corps of Gen. A.J. SMITH, which has just arrived at Nashville. He will get into a position of far greater natural and artificial strength than Franklin — Nashville being one of the most elaborately fortified cities on the continent; and he may be able to draw HOOD up there and induce him to dash his army to pieces against our works. Thus we view the situation in Tennessee, after reviewing carefully all the facts that have thus far come to hand.

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