Category Archives: Fort Granger

85th Illinois letter – May 1863

Source: The Excelsior Brigade

Jas. P. Walker, Brig Surgeon, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Army Corps

https://www.excelsiorbrigade.com/products/details/LTR-7387

Original Civil War soldier’s letter. 2 pages, written in period ink. Refers to Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Brentwood, Tennessee
May 23rd 1863

Dr. Jas. A. Walker

Dear Brother,

I wrote you this morning to let you see that I was still in hand and doing the best I can to make time pass swiftly.

I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you dated 14th inst. Glad to hear that you are well; that Eliza and the rest are well, but very sorry to hear that the children are down with measles. But hope that the very favorable time of the year and good care will have brought them through safely by this time. I am sorry that you did not see Mr. Straight as I am ashamed to write to Ritchy until that matter is fixed up. I don’t care very particularly about Rankin’s case but want him paid as soon as you can conveniently do it. The tax matters I want settled, i.e., all that I own.
I wrote to Annie about it some time ago; but she might have forgotten to ask you to see to it. I want you to ask Bill Walker or someone else how you can pay the tax on the Missouri land; and the lot in Springfield must be paid for soon. It has been sold for city, county and state taxes.

The health is very good here now. In fact, there is no sickness really – a few cases of ague and diarrhea. We have 1900 infantry, 4 pieces of artillery and 750 cavalry here now. We look for some fun here every day almost. Old Forrest is in command of the forces of Van Dorn in our front – a rather troublesome neighbor, we think. They blaze away at our pickets nearly every night. Night before last, one of the sentinels shot his fellow guard dead. He was buried last evening at sundown. One of the 104th Illinois was wounded in the leg severely a few nights since. One of the 85th Illinois shot off two of his fingers not long since while getting over the fence.

N. Patterson is fat as a hog.

We get fresh butter 40 to 50 cents a pound; milk 20 cents per quart; strawberries ditto. Young chickens will soon be plenty. We draw fresh bread, beef, potatoes, &c. I went to the city two weeks ago and drew from the Sanitary agent 55lbs. and six boxes of various sorts of vegetables – mostly potatoes, onions, dried fruit and pickles and 6 dozen canned fruit.

The weather is quite warm now but cool night. This Harpeth Valley is nearly a paradise but damned with Secesh. But they will take the oath. We call it, “iron sheathing them;” then they are “Iron Clads.”

I must close. Give my love to sister Eliza and cousin. Tell Annie I will write soon again. We have not got the Mason City mail this week. Good bye. Write soon. How is the boy?

Jas. P. Walker, Brig Surgeon, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 14th Army Corps

I send a white rose and a sprig of arbor vitae to Eliza and Red rose and arbor vitae for Annie.

New Google Map of Fort Granger

Fort Granger is a large, mostly intact earthenworks Civil War fort just north of downtown Franklin, above Pinkerton Park. It sits on roughly twelve acres. Fort Granger was constructed by Federal soldiers, and some contraband labor, in the late winter and early spring of 1863. It took about ten weeks to complete.

I recently created a Google Map version of Fort Granger. It is loaded with all kinds of information to help you learn more about the fort, including access to original soldier’s letters and accounts.

To learn more about Fort Granger via an interactive Google Map, visit this site.

Earl Van Dorn tested the fort as it was being constructed in April 1863 and Nathan Bedford Forest attempted to take the fort in June 1864. Two Confederate spies were hung outside the fort in June 1863 too.

I have been leading tours of Fort Granger for ten years. If you would like to walk around the fort facility and learn who built it, why it was built, how it was built, how it was used, then contact me for a tour. Fort Granger tours (typically 75 minutes) are $35 per person, group rates available.

84th Indiana Strength Report – March 1864

The 84th Indiana was in Grouse’s Brigade, Kimball’s Division at Franklin.  I acquired this Strength Report of the 84th Indiana for March 1864 not too long ago.

The goldmine is in the bottom third of the document. The writer details copies notes about numerous 84th men and what their status is.

For example, Cpl William Pittengen is a deserter; he lists men in the hospitals in Nashville, mentions name after name of soldiers (e.g., Rufus Taylor, David Mohler, Francis Wincett, Col Champion, Benton Skinner, Capt John C Taylor, 1st Lt Mcclure who is detached to Fort Granger by order of Gen Gordon Granger.  Many more soldier’s names are listed.

The 84th helped construct Fort Granger in Franklin from March-May 1863.  The 84th mustered in at Richmond, Indiana.

It was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 4th Army Corps about Feb 1864.

The detail in the document is relevant in getting a better handle on the strength of the 84th Indiana following their action Chickamauga and Chattanooga in late 1863, then at Buzzard’s Roost, GA in late February 1864.

It is for sale

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The landscape shapes the battlefield

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.

  1. How far east-west was the Confederate Army spread out while positioned at Winstead Hill?
  2. 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?
  3. What are the three main arteries the CSA Army traversed to get to ground zero (i.e., the Carter grounds)?
  4. What were the primary obstacles (i.e., man-made and natural) that the Union Army used to defend itself?
  5. What were the ‘high spots’ (natural and man-made) that both sides attempted to leverage?
  6. How far was Fort Granger and her guns from the McGavock farm? From the CSA Army as it approached the Union defensive main line?
  7. How does the landscape and important items noted impact the chances of a successful cavalry flanking maneuver by Forrest?
  8. How and why was the Harpeth River an important advantage to the Union Army?

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Granger gun range.pngBoth images from interpretative markers on the Eastern Flank

Civil War play – Incident at Fort Granger – offers a single performance June 24th

INCIDENT AT FORT GRANGER a play about a true event that happened at Franklin’s Fort Granger in June of 1863, will be performed in the Pull-Tight Theatre on Sunday afternoon, June 24, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for this one-time-only performance are $15.00. The production is a fundraiser, proceeds to be used for this summer’s theatre renovation. Order tickets.

Jim Anderson and Vince Cusomato