Category Archives: Harpeth River

Capt. William F. Kemble, Co. C, 104th Ohio Vol. Inf. artifacts, killed at Franklin

These items are listed for sale in the December 8th, 2012 Heritage Auction.  They belonged to Capt. William F. Kemble, Co. C, 104th Ohio Vol. Infantry.

The auction description says:

 “…breasting the storm of deadly musketry, bursting shell and flying shot…” With his dying breaths he instructed his comrades to be certain to send his sword home to his family. Here is Captain Kemble’s sword and belt, accompanied by a poignant letter from a fellow officer who was by Kemble’s side when he died. The sword is a fine imported non-regulation officer’s sword with rayskin grips and steel hilt bearing a spread-winged eagle over “U. S.” The blade is profusely etched with floral designs, trophies and a large “U.S.” and is in near perfect condition with much luster. The steel scabbard has a smooth, even patina. The sword belt features a heavy M. 1851 officer’s sword belt plate in high relief. The belt itself is sound but the suspensory straps have broken and are detached. Perhaps the most outstanding part of this grouping is the touching letter sent to Kemble’s wife by fellow officer Robert C. Taggart who witnessed Kemble’s mortal wounding and was with him at his death. The letter offers a description of how he was shot and, most importantly that as Taggart was “bending over my expiring friend…the only words he could utter were send my sword to my family and tell them my last thoughts were with them.” The four-page letter continues to mention sending the sword to Mrs. Kemble and inform her that her husband was buried with other members of his regiment “on the north bank of Big Harpeth Creek,” lauding him in the flowery language of Victorian America. One of the most touching groupings Heritage Auctions has ever offered and a sword with exquisite provenance.
Estimate: $8,000 – up.

Virtual tour of Fort Granger: the Middle bastion

Fort Granger has three bastions.  The map shows the location of each one.

By definition a bastion is:

a projecting work in a fortification designed to permit fire to the flanks along the face of the wall.

When entering the fort from the parking lot one walks right up to the middle bastion. You will be standing facing the MIddle bastion, looking south.

Armament (i.e., artillery) was placed in the cul de sac of each bastion. There were 30 pounders in Granger.

Each bastion sits roughly 15 feet from the ditch on the outside.

This Google map shows the relative position of Fort Granger in the larger scope of the battlefield (Franklin). Notice the Harpeth River running in front of the fort and the railroad to the west side (running north/south).

The Eastern flank portion of the Franklin battlefield was in the direct spray of artillery from Granger. Thus, Loring’s Division, and more specifically, Featherston’s Brigade, took the worst of the Federal onslaught of artillery from Granger.

Here is a video showing the middle bastion just as you enter the fort.

To order my book on Fort Granger, or to learn more click on http://www.FortGranger.US

Big Harpeth Bridge (Franklin, TN) burned by CS cavalry in October 1862

“In October, 1862, Perkins’s company, in connection with Capt. Hayes Blacburn, burned the bridge across Big Harpeth, below Franklin, Tenn., and on the same day attacked and defeated a large foraging party, guarded by about three hundred infantry, killing and wounding a number of the enemy and capturing one Major, two Captains, one Lieutenant, and fifteen men.”

‘Perkins’ is Thomas F. Perkins, Jr., member of Company I, 11th TN Cavalry. He was from Williamson County, TN.

Williamson County Historical Society Journal, #28 (1997)pp. 86. The text was written by J.B. Lindsey in Military Annals of Tennessee: Confederate.
[Company I, 11th TN Cavalry)

Below: Capt. Thomas F. Perkins, Jr., 11th TN Cavalry, Company I.  Photo taken of him while a prisoner of war, 1864.

Image credit: The Williamson County Historical Society.

Description of what the bridge looked like?

“The bridge of 1819 stood until burned in 1862. It was a large covered bridge with a strong middle pillar. It was covered and was double, having  a partition along its middle course, and was inclosed on its sides and had two open windows on each side.”
– Park Marshall (1928), Bridges of Franklin: p. 107. WCHS Journal, Vol. 28, 1997.

Telegram: Hood has a large force


FRANKLIN, November 30, 1864–3 P.M.
I have just received your despatch asking whether I can hold Hood here three days. I do not believe I can. I can doubtless hold him one day, but will hazard something in doing that. He now has a large force, probably two corps, in my front, and seems prepared to cross the river above and below. I think he can effect a crossing to-morrow in spite of all my efforts, and probably to-night, if he attempts it. A worse position than this for an inferior force could hardly be found. I will refer your question to General Wilson this evening. I think he can do very little. I have no doubt Forrest will be in my rear tomorrow, or doing some greater mischief. It appears to me that I ought to take position at Brentwood at once. If A. J. Smith’s division and the Murfreesboro garrison join me there, I ought to be able to hold Hood in check for Some time. I have just learned that the enemy’s cavalry is already crossing three miles below. I will have lively times with my trains again.


Telegram: troops across the Harpeth


FRANKLIN, November 30, 1864–5.30 A.M.
I hope to get my troops and material safely across the Harpeth this morning. We have suffered no material loss so far. I shall try to get Wilson on my flank this morning. Forrest was all around us yesterday, but we brushed him away during the evening, and came through. Hood attacked in front and flank, but did not hurt us.