Just how intense was the fighting around the cotton gin at the Battle of Franklin? The pictures below shows a general area of roughly two square acres, where the cotton gin was on 30 Nov. After studying the casualties and battlefield accounts, and many other records – over many years – I have concluded that there were at least 100 Confederate dead (possibly 150-200) in this small two acre section, and another 800-1,000 wounded, lying on the field, waiting for assistance. After the battle, the Confederate soldiers who were not injured began walking among areas of the battlefield like this, where the action was hottest. Comforting their wounded. Confirming the dead. Carrying the wounded to local ‘hospitals’ in the homes of residents and the local churches. With some 800-1,200 casualties (just wounded and killed) in this two-acre section a person attending to the wounded after the battle could attend to one comrade, then turn in any direction and walk 8-10 feet and attend to another. The another . . . and another. And don’t forget, right in front of the Federal line, in the trench, the dead were likely piled 4-6 high. Imagine 1,000 people today, lying down in this two acre section, symbolizing the casualties around the Carter cotton gin.
Here’s a drawing of the Carter cotton gin as published in a 1910 Confederate Veteran article.
This map of the battlefield (on an interpretative marker on the Eastern Flank) is very helpful for one to orient oneself to the Battle of Franklin. There is so much to appreciate from studying this map. Here are a list of questions any good student of the Battle of Franklin would know, or at least want to know. The map below can answer each question.
- How far east-west was the Confederate Army spread out while positioned at Winstead Hill?
- Once the CSA Army got to the main Union earthworks, centered at the Cotton Gin, how far east-west was the army spread out then? Why is this important?
- What are the three main arteries the CSA Army traversed to get to ground zero (i.e., the Carter grounds)?
- What were the primary obstacles (i.e., man-made and natural) that the Union Army used to defend itself?
- What were the ‘high spots’ (natural and man-made) that both sides attempted to leverage?
- How far was Fort Granger and her guns from the McGavock farm? From the CSA Army as it approached the Union defensive main line?
- How does the landscape and important items noted impact the chances of a successful cavalry flanking maneuver by Forrest?
- How and why was the Harpeth River an important advantage to the Union Army?
Both images from interpretative markers on the Eastern Flank