Category Archives: John C. Brown

Lucky Confederate officer fell sickly in Columbia, missed Franklin; comrades did not fare so well

I recently purchased a nice Confederate letter from Major William J. Crook, 13th Tennessee Infantry. It is dated December 10, 1864 and is written from Nashville.  Crook wrote several letters during the Civil War. Several of them are on file at the University of Tennessee Knoxville library.

In his Dec 10, 1864 letter Crook recounts the casualties his unit and division saw at Franklin. Fortune had smiled on the Major, who fell sickly in Columbia just a couple days before the Franklin action, thus missing the horrible Franklin action.

Major William J. Crook, 13th Tennessee Infantry, was lucky enough to survive the Battle of Franklin.   The 13th was part of Vaughan’s Brigade, under Brig Gen George B. Gordon.  The 13th TN fought with the 11th, 12th/47th, 29th and 51st/52nd TN Infantries at Franklin.

The 13th TN was on the furthest right of the advancing Gordon Brigade, just west of the Columbia Turnpike.  Gordon’s men overtook Wagner’s (Union) men as they retreated back behind the Federal line in the opening battle sequence. Once reaching the Federal line in front of the Fountain Branch Carter farm, Gordon’s Brigade and he 13th TN met fierce resistance from Opdycke’s and Strickland’s Briagades.  There was brutal hand-to-hand fighting here.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville library states this about William J. Crook:

William Jere Crook was born to Jeremiah and Mary (Arnold) Crook on October 20, 1836. He enlisted in Company I of the 13th Tennessee Infantry (CSA) as a Corporal on May 30, 1861 and was promoted to Captain on August 14 of the same year. Crook was seriously wounded and captured in Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862 and was exchanged in early 1863. He returned to his regiment and was promoted to Major on November 18, 1863. Crook was captured again near Athens, Georgia on May 8, 1865 and apparently released at the end of the war. He returned to Tennessee, where he married his cousin, Hattie Crook. William J. Crook died on January 10, 1881.

Here is a complete transcript of Crook’s letter. It is copyright protected and cannot be used without permission.

Copyright 2012, The Kraig McNutt Civil War Collection

List of Confederate Generals engaged at Franklin (30 Nov 1864)?

Here’s a list of Confederate Generals who were engaged at the Battle of Franklin, Nov 30, 1864.

John Adams
William B. Bate
William F. Brantley
John C. Brown
Abraham Buford
John C. Carter
James R. Chalmers
Patrick R. Cleburne
Francis Marion Cockrell
Zachariah Deas
Winfield Scott Featherston
Samuel G. French
States Rights Gist
George W. Gordon
Edward Johnson
Mark P. Lowrey
Hiram B. Granbury
S. D. Lee
John Bell Hood
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Henry Jackson
William Hicks Jackson
S. D. Lee
W. W. Loring
Mark P. Lowrey
Arthur C. Manigault
William Quarles
Daniel Reynolds
Thomas M. Scott
Claudius W. Sears
Jacob Sharp
Charles Shelley
Thomas Benton Smith
A. P. Stewart
Otho F. Strahl
Edward C. Walthall

Cleburne dies assaulting Federal works near Cotton gin, video

The divisions of Cleburne and Brown made the assault upon the Federal works around 4:30 pm.  The shock-attach was so powerful it knocked three Federal regiments on their heels. The Rebels nearly landed a knock-out punch at Franklin.  But Emerson Opdycke’s Brigade staunched the flow and saved the day for the Federals. In the assault, Cleburne was shot through the heart.

A historical marker on the site where Cleburne’s assault and death took place honors the fallen Confederate hero. Recently, the Franklin community – through the leadership of Franklin’s Charge – recovered a one-acre piece of ground that was part of the epicenter of this assault. Read about the historic event.

Cleburne’s death was a devastating loss for the Army of Tennessee. The December 3rd edition of The New York Times headlined, “The Rebel General Cleburne Killed.”

Pistol image is used by permission of the Layland Musuem, Cleburne, texas.

1st Lt. James A. Tillman, 24th SC survives Franklin, barely

The 24th South Carolina served with Gist’s Brigade, Brown’s Division at Franklin. 1st Lt. James A Tillman served as an officer for the 24th South Carolina.

The 24th also fought at Franklin with the 46th and 65th Georgia; the 2nd Georgia Sharpshooters Battalion, and the 16th South Carolina.

The 24th was part of the regiments who clashed with the Union Brigades of Opdycke and Strickland near the Carter House, on the west side of the Columbia Pike.

Fifteen of Tillman’s comrades are known to be buried at McGavock Cemetery.

Picture credit: The Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 169)

Maj. Williams J. Crook survives Franklin, 13th TN, but several comrades do not

Major Williams J. Crook, 13th Tennessee Infantry, was lucky enough to survive the Battle of Franklin.   The 13th was part of Vaughan’s Brigade, under Brig Gen George B. Gordon.  The 13th TN fought with the 11th, 12th/47th, 29th and 51st/52nd TN Infantries at Franklin.

The 13th TN was on the furthest right of the advancing Gordon Brigade, just west of the Columbia Turnpike.  Gordon’s men overtook Wagner’s (Union) men as they retreated back behind the Federal line in the opening battle sequence. Once reaching the Federal line in front of the Fountain Branch Carter farm, Gordon’s Brigade and he 13th TN met fierce resistance from Opdycke’s and Strickland’s Briagades.  There was brutal hand-to-hand fighting here.

Picture credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy, (p. 168)

Five of Crook’s fellow regimental comrades – 13th Tennesseans – rest peacefully from the guns at McGavock Cemetery in Franklin.