Chaplain the 90th Ohio Infantry writes of Hood’s retreat and Confederate dead after Franklin

The following letter was retrieved online on October 6, 2018 (Cowan’s Auction)

William C. Holliday (1838-1921) was born in Adams County, Ohio. The Minutes of Ohio Annual Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church described him as a “local preacher” as early as 1855. Holliday enlisted on December 21, 1863, as a chaplain and was commissioned into Field & Staff OH 90th Infantry. Holliday mustered out on June 13, 1865 at Camp Harker, TN.

Franklin Tenn Dec 18, 1864
1st Division Hospital 4 AC

Ma

Yesterday morning we moved easily in the AM. Our troops had moved rapidly after the panic stricken and fleeing rebels about four miles. It was night. They slept on the mud and under the rain. It rained all day – but this Army is so flushed with victory that they did splendid marching – though tired and worn from two days incessant fighting and almost sleepless nights. We came about fifteen miles. Rebels are still going. It is the greatest victory of the war….”

And writing to his wife from the Field Hospital ….

Six Miles North Columbia Tenn.”[Dec 19]

Mrs. Holliday,

It is about 7oclock PM. I sent you a very brief letter on the 18 at Franklin. On this same day we marched about 14 miles through the rain. At Franklin I had an opportunity of circling over the battlefield. The rebels suffered terribly. They assaulted our works and were killed by the hundred. I counted on one side the pile over three hundred and fifty graves. There were as many on the other side…”

Source: Cowan’s

 

A Confederate soldier wounded at the Battle of Franklin falls in love with a local resident while being cared for in a field hospital

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-20-19-pmCapt William F. Gibson, a Confederate soldier from Arkansas, was wounded in the face and stomach at the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, fighting around the Carter Cotton Gin with Cleburne’s Division. Lying wounded and bleeding on the field, he was saved by a Union soldier, who recognized he was a Mason.

Gibson was carried to the doorstep of the Cummins’s House in Franklin where he was found by a young single woman named Laura Sowell who was visiting her uncle at the time. Miss Sowell was from Columbia and single at the time.

Laura nursed William these first few days and they eventually fell in love, writing letters to one another right after the Franklin conflict, and even 30 years later.

They never married. William was shamed by his disfigured wounds from Franklin and did not think he was good enough for Laura. She later married a prominent businessman in Columbia, Tennessee.

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Here are some pictures of the former Cummins’ home now located at 403 Cummins Street just a little south of downtown Franklin, very close to the Lots House.

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Confederate William F. Gibson, 8th Arkansas Infantry, was wounded in this vicinity where the original Carter cotton gin was positioned, and was found the next day by a Union soldier who noticed William wearing a Masonic pin. The Union soldier carried the wounded Gibson to the home of Dr. Cummins (pictured above) where he was cared for and tended by local Miss Laura Sowell, whom he fell in love with.

Diary entry for November 29, 1864 by 63rd Indiana soldier in Spring Hill

Upon learning the entire Federal army had escaped Spring Hill during the night of the 29th, C.S.A. Gen John Bell Hood spoke these words on the morning of the 30th, “the best move of my career as a soldier come to naught.”


Last night passed off quietly. At 8 we are packed ready to move. The forces behind us have just moved out. The enemy have been trying all morning to get possession of the ford, consequently several artillery fights as well as skirmishes today with musketry in fact has been a noisy war-like day. Eve: The enemy just before dusk charged and drove our skirmishers away from the ford but they held on to part of their line. The operation made a great rattling of musketry and supposing the enemy to be attacking in force our Regt was ordered double quick up to the scene of action. The artillery thundered away for a while, and with darkness relapsed into silence. In our movement our Regt was very much exposed to the raking fire through its whole length yet the Rebs did not take advantage of it. Soon after dark we withdrew in silence and was on the march back to Franklin a distance of 23 miles. Just before we got to Spring Hill we could see a long string of lights on our right not far off, and supposing it was the 4th Corps in camp we were looking forward to an immediate rest when to our surprise we were told that it was the lights of a rebble camp. Men ordered not to speak nor let their accoutrements rattle, we were so close we could see their camp guards (night guards).

Written by Addison Lee Ewing, Captain, Co F, 63rd Indiana Infantry
(Previous posts related to Ewing)

Source: Ewing Mss. Manuscripts department, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

June 10th Franklin CWRT speaker, descendant of Private Sam Watkins

Ken Burns, known for his famous PBS historical series, said the “only thing better than Sam Watkins (author of Company Aytch) is more Sam Watkins.”  The Franklin Civil War Round Table is proud to present Ruth Hill McAllister, Mr. Watkin’s great granddaughter, at our June 10th session.  Ms McAllister, after having found a copy of Sam’s original version of his famous account during his time with the Army of Tennessee, produced in 2007 a new edition incorporating some of her grandfather’s handwritten notes.

The story of Mr. Watkins will be told in only a way that a dedicated descendant can present.  For those of you who have heard Ms McAllister in the past, she will fascinate you will little known details about life in Middle Tennessee, Columbia and the Army of Tennessee during the War.  She was recently a featured speaker on the 150th anniversary of The Battle of Shiloh PBS special presentation.

Please mark your calendars to be at the Franklin Police Community Room for this special event, 3 PM, June 10th.

(DVD) Recollections of a Private Confederate Solider – just released

By Thomas Cartwright and Michael Holloway.

Robert Hicks, author of New York Times bestseller The Widow of the South said, “Thomas Cartwright has partnered up with Michael Holloway to give us Sam Watkins Co. Aytch and what a gift it is.  For those of us who have loved ol’ Sam and his Co. Aytch, this is long overdue.  For those who have never read Co. Aytch, it is the best introduction I can think of.” 

Hicks added, “In Sam’s own words, Cartwright movingly retells the story of Sam’s adventures in the service of the South.  It is hard to imagine anyone that Sam would have rather had retell his story.  Added to all of this is the wonderful music that Michael Holloway wrote and performed in accompaniment to Sam’s words.

Cartwright and Holloway have hit this one out of the park.  This CD is a must for anyone who loves the rich history of the American Civil War.” DVD is $24.00 plus shipping and sales tax (for Tennessee residents) .

Order online.