Category Archives: John M. Schofield

December 2nd New York Times records carnage and killing at Franklin



TENNESSEE.

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A Severe Battle at Franklin, Tenn.
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HOOD DEFEATED BY THOMAS.
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The Rebels Desperately Assault Our Works.
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They are Repulsed with Fearful Carnage.
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Six Thousand Rebels Killed and Wounded.
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TWELVE HUNDRED PRISONERS CAPTURED
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Our Loss Less Than One Thousand.
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MAGNIFICENT BEHAVIOR OF OUR TROOPS
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Full and Graphic Account from Our Special Correspondent.
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OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.
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Washington, Thursday, Dec.1.

The following official dispatch concerning the report of the victory in Tennessee, has been received at headquarters:

FRANKLIN, Tenn., Wednesday, Nov.30.

Major-Gen. Thomas:

The enemy made a heavy and persistent attack with two corps, commencing at 4 P.M., and lasting till after dark. He was repulsed at all points with heavy loss — probably of five or six thousand men. Our loss is probably not more than one-fourth of that number. We have captured about one thousand prisoners, including one Brigadier-General.

(Signed,) JOHN SCHOFIELD
Major-General.

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OUR SPECIAL ACCOUNT.
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Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.
FOUR MILES SOUTH OF NASHVILLE.
Thursday, Dec.1.

Gen. SCHOFIELD yesterday fought one of the prettiest fights of the war, resulting most disastrously to the rebels, with little loss to ourselves. After three days’ skirmishing, the rebels crowded our first line of works yesterday afternoon, and at 4 P.M. made a most desperate attack on our right and centre, forcing our lines to our breastworks, which were thrown up from river to river in an open field on the Cumberland Pike, which ran through the centre of the field.

At least half the rebel force engaged endeavored to pierce our centre, and come down viciously on WAGNER’S Division, which, after desperate fighting, fell back, and MANY’S rebel division, of FRANK CHEATAM’S corps, got inside our works and captured two guns. Our centre was not broken, however, and, better still, Gen. WAGNER successfully rallied our troops, who charged on the enemy, recaptured the two guns, and drove the division over the breastworks, capturing one entire brigade and its commander.

At 4:30 o’clock the battle was waged with unabating vigor, the enemy having made during a half hour several attempts to break our centre.

The Federal position was a magnificent one, and the result of these four days’ work were magnificently grand.

All this while the rebels had appeared in front of our right. The plan was to pierce our centre and crush our right wing before dark. A portion of our infantry were engaged three-quarters of an hour firing on the rebel columns who stood their ground like madmen. During the every charge made on our right and centre, volleys of grape and canister were hurled into their lines, and only darkness prevented their sacrifice being more awful. It is said that no canister shot was used by the rebels during the day, but fired shot and shell.

After the first break of WAGNER’S division and its recovery, our line never budged a step. All was quiet after 10 P.M. It was not only one of the prettiest but cleanest battles of the war. The excessive slaughter of the enemy was owing to our wholesale use of canister and grape, and our selection of ground. The battle was fought in an open field, with no trees or undergrowth, or other interruption. The enemy’s loss in killed and wounded approximates 7,000, and we have over 1,200 prisoners, and one general officer and several field officers. The Colonel of the Fifteenth Mississippi, a Northern man, of Illinois, was wounded and taken prisoner. Four-fifths of his regiment were killed, wounded or captured. Our loss does not reach a thousand, hors du cambat. Gen. Bradley, of Illinois, while gallantly leading his troops, was severely wounded in the shoulder. Our loss in field officers is very small. Our troops behaved handsomely. SCHOFIELD commanded on the field, STANLEY on the right, and Cox on the left. Gen. Stanley was wounded slightly in the neck, but remained on the field and is all right to-day.

I have told you all along the programme of Gen. Thomas would electrify you, and this is but the epilogue of the battle to come off.

After our dead, wounded and prisoners were cared for, our army fell back to this point, and are in line of battle while I write. Up to this time, 3 P.M., the enemy has not made his appearance. The Third Corps of Veterans are in readiness, and a battle is expected before daylight to-morrow. All Government work is suspended, and all are under arms, from Gen. DONALDSON down to the unscientific laborers.

The falling back of our troops was accomplished at 8 o’clock this morning, and bridges burned across Harpeth River to retard the transportation of rebel supplies. The cavalry was handled prettily by Gen. WILSON, between Spring Hill and Triune.

A.J. SMITH’s corps is in line of battle, and the situation is particularly grand. Forts Negley, Morton, Cairo and Houston are alive, and the infantry movement perfectly satisfactory. Something must immediately transpire, as Gen. THOMAS is ready to strike no matter how the rebels move.

BENJ. C. TRUMAN

Telegrams related to the Battle of Franklin

Here are all the Union-Federal telegrams that took place related to the Battle of Franklin. They are in order of earliest to latest. Most of the telegrams in the Official Records are between Maj-Gen George H. Thomas and Maj-General John M Schofield (his subordinate).

Nov 29th, 1 pm – Pontoons down

Nov 30th, 5:30 am – troops across the Harpeth

The first Federal troops begin arriving in Franklin shortly after this telegram. Schofield discovers all the bridges are out.  Many troops, in earnest, begin to construct breastworks.

Nov 30th, 9:30 am – Hood cannot be held

Nov 30th, no timestamp – map

Nov 30th, 12 noon – getting in a tight place

Even as late as noon on the eventual day of battle, Federal commanders do NOT expect an attack from Hood.

Nov 30th, no timestamp – hold Franklin for three days?

Nov 30th, 3 pm – Hood has a large force

Hood’s Army of Tennessee is now visible two miles south of Franklin, as they are spread out across roughly two miles (east-west), in front of Winstead Hill.

Nov 30th, no timestamp – pre-attack, trains sent to Brentwood

This is the last telegram prior to the opening assault (4 pm).

Nov 30th, 7:10 pm – persistent attack

Though just three hours into the action, the Federal estimates of casualties is remarkably accurate.

Nov 30th, no timestamp – glorious news

Telegram: glorious news

 

(Telegram.)
NASHVILLE, November 30, 1864.
MAJOR-GENERAL SCHOFIELD, Franklin:
Your telegram is just received. It is glorious news, and I congratulate you and the brave men of your command. But you must look out that the enemy does not still persist. The courier you sent to General Cooper at Widow Dean’s could not reach there, and reports that he was chased by rebel cavalry on the whole route, and finally came into this place. Major-General Steedman, with five thousand men, should be here in the morning. When he arrives, I will start General A. J. Smith’s command and General Steedman’s troops to your assistance at Brentwood.
(Signed)
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General U. S. Vols., Comd’g.

 

Telegram: persistent attack

 

(Telegram.)
FRANKLIN. November 30th–7.10 P.M.
MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS, Nashville:
The enemy made a heavy and persistent attack with about two corps, commencing at 4 P.M. and lasting until after dark. He was repulsed at all points, with very heavy loss–probably 5,000 or 6,000 men. Our loss is not probably more than one-fourth that number. We have captured about 1,000 prisoners, including one brigadier-general. Your despatch of this P.M. is received. I had already given the orders you direct, and am now executing them.
(Signed)
J.M. SCHOFIELD,
Major-General.

 

Telegrams: pre-attack, trains sent to Brentwood

 

(Telegram.)
NASHVILLE, November 30, 1864.
MAJOR-GENERAL SCHOFIELD, Franklin:
Your despatch of 3 P.M. is received. Send back your trains to this place at once, and hold your troops in readiness to march to Brentwood, and thence to this place as soon as your trains are fairly on the way, so disposing your force as to cover the wagon train. Have all R. R. trains sent back immediately. Notify General Wilson of my instructions. He will govern himself accordingly. Relieve all garrisons in blockhouses, and send back by railroad trains last over the road. Acknowledge receipt.
(Signed)
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General U. S. Vols., Comd’g.
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(Telegram.)
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
FRANKLIN, TENN., November 30, 1864.
MAJOR-GENERAL GEO. H. THOMAS, Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL–Please send A. J. Smith’s division to Brentwood early to-morrow morning. Also please send to Brentwood to-morrow morning one million rounds of infantry ammunition, 2,000 rounds three-inch and 1000 rounds light twelve artillery.
(Signed)
J.M. SCHOFIELD,
Major-General.