Category Archives: Nathan Bedford Forrest

December 2, 1864 New York Times stories about Franklin

Hood’s Advance at Spring Hill, Tenn., Thirty-two Miles South of Nashville.

Franklin, the scene of the great victory over HOOD on Thursday, is the capital of Williamson County, Tenn., and is situated on the south bank of Big Harpeth River, about 18 miles from Nashville, on the line of the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. Before the war it was a beautiful village, with a population of about 2,000 people. Franklin has changed hands several times during the war. After VAN DORN’s success in capturing a Union brigade at Spring Hill, near Franklin, in March, 1863, that rebel Commander moved upon the latter place, which he attacked on the 10th of April. Major-Gen. GORDON GRANGER was in command of the village. His forces comprised two infantry divisions of 1,600 men, 2,000 cavalry under SMITH and STANLEY, and eighteen guns. The only artificial defence was an uncompleted fort, which mounted two siege guns and two three-inch rifled guns. VAN DORN’s force was estimated at nine thousand infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The rebels were handsomely repulsed, losing three hundred, while GRANGER’s total loss was only thirty-seven. The town proper is built upon an open, level spot; but circling round to the west and south of it are the Harpeth Hills. Big Harpeth River has its source in Bedford County, and flows northwest through Williamson, past the town of Franklin, enters Davidson County, and falls into the Cumberland River thirty-five miles below this city, after a general comparative course of sixty miles.

NASHVILLE, Wednesday, Nov. 30 — Midnight RECEIVED Dec. 1 — 9 A. M. Heavy skirmishing for the past few days, and still going on between our troops and FORREST. There was a sharp fight yesterday at Spring Hill, twelve miles south of Franklin. Our cavalry was driven back on our infantry lines which checked the enemy. A squad of rebel prisoners were in charge of these troops, when the rebel cavalry made a dash on them, releasing their men and capturing ours. A train was attacked near Harpeth River. The engineer detached the locomotive, and both are supposed to be captured. The rest of the train was saved. A squad of rebel cavalry dashed across the Chattanooga line yesterday, near Cheshire, tearing up the track. The train was detained all night, but came in next morning. Our troops have fallen back around Franklin. The main part of HOOD’s army is across Duck River. Every indication of a heavy battle in a few days, but we are confident of the result.

Most Desperate Attack

NASHVILLE, Thursday, Dec. 1. Parties who have arrived from the front, and who witnessed the battle of yesterday, describe the attack of the rebel forces as desperate. Four charges were made upon the Federal masked batteries in columns four lines deep. Each time the rebels were repulsed with fearful loss. The fort is on the north bank of the river, opposite the town, extending up the river, and encircling the town was the line of masked batteries. Eye-witnesses say that this engagement, in desperation and furious fighting, was hardly equaled by the battle of Stone River. FORREST in person was on the field rallying his men. A rumor is in circulation that he was killed, but it lacks confirmation. About 7 o’clock last night heavy reinforcements reached SCHOFIELD, which caused a complete rout of the rebel forces. The city to-day is full of fleeing residents of Williamson and other counties south. They state HOOD it gathering up all the horses, hogs and mules that he can find, and sending them south. There is great panic among the negroes in the counties south of Nashville. Numbers are fleeing to the city for protection.

Tennessee — A Severe Battle

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. 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.

The Fierce Battle in Tennessee

The one-legged rebel HOOD has again put in practice the system of quick, furious, persistent and desperate assault by which he and Stonewall JACKSON have been distinguished on the rebel side; and he has met with the same bloody luck which befell him when he tried the same thing at Atlanta. The battle between HOOD and THOMAS, on Wednesday afternoon, at Franklin, Tenn., eighteen miles south of Nashville, regarding which we have both official and unofficial dispatches, was indecisive. Only two of the four corps of the enemy are reported as being engaged, and so far as their repulse is concerned, it is eminently satisfactory. There is no difficulty, after reading the vivid dispatches of our special correspondent, in crediting the statements as to the enormous and disproportionate losses of the rebels in this battle. The gallant and conservative SCHOFIELD, who commanded on the occasion, states the rebel loss at five or six thousand, and our correspondent puts it at a still higher figure, while our own casualties were under a thousand. This disparity is accounted for by the circumstance that our men fought behind breastworks established in an open field, and by our wholesale use of grape and canister upon the enemy. It is reported that the rebels made four successive charges in columns four lines deep; but their furious assaults resulted in failure to carry the position. They were permitted to dash themselves against our works, and HOOD threw them forward with a recklessness of life equal to anything he has ever displayed during the four months he has had command of the rebel army in the Southwest. In the course of the evening after the battle, Gen. THOMAS retired his army to the vicinity of Nashville. This we judge to be a strategic movement, very like what might have been expected from the imperturbable and far-seeing Gen. THOMAS, who looks to the final result and general summing up of a campaign more than to partial and brilliant victories. He knows HOOD of old, and understands his style thoroughly. He will effect two, and perhaps, three or four objects by planting himself behind the works of Nashville. He will combine his forces in a compact body, with the corps of Gen. A.J. SMITH, which has just arrived at Nashville. He will get into a position of far greater natural and artificial strength than Franklin — Nashville being one of the most elaborately fortified cities on the continent; and he may be able to draw HOOD up there and induce him to dash his army to pieces against our works. Thus we view the situation in Tennessee, after reviewing carefully all the facts that have thus far come to hand.

John M. McGinnis served in the 19th TN (Biffle’s) Calvary Co. K (Gen. Forrest Division)

1.   Full names of soldier.

John M. McGinnis

2.   Rank, unit served with, etc

4th TN Infantry Regiment Co. K ( Strahls)

Jackson’s 7th Calvary

15th TN (Stewart’s) Calvary Co. C

19th TN (Biffle’s) Calvary Co. K (Gen. Forrest Division)

3.  Any personal info about the soldier that you’re aware of.

Yes, see http://www.vizualstorm.com/jc/web-content/index.html

4. Was he wounded at Franklin?  Captured?  Missing?  Killed?

NO

5. Survive Franklin?  Survive the war?

Yes

6. Your exact relation?

Great Grand Son

7. Burial place?

Dyersburg, TN

8. Any pictures of the soldier:  in uniform?  Before or after the war?

Not in uniform, post-war yes

9. Surviving letters, diaries, or documents you’re willing to share?
None

10. The email address for you to be contacted?
jamescareyll@live.com

More info

My Great-great grandfather was named John M. McGinnis and he was born and raised in Dyer Co. of North West Tennessee.  He lived in both Newbern TN and Dyersburg TN prior to entering into the civil war.

He fought at Franklin under General Forrest and even met his future wife there while engaged in the battles in and around Franklin.

I have written a detailed biography of my great-great grandfather of his life and his family since their arrival in Dyer county Tennessee in 1841. The web page can be found at:

http://www.vizualstorm.com/jc/web-content/index.html

The following are a couple of excerpts from that biography:

John was placed into the 9th (later 19th) Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, Company K., as a 5th Sergeant under Captain R.M. Sharp.  This was a pretty high rank for an enlisted man and he now drew $17.00 a month.

The 9th Tennessee Cavalry regiment was placed under Colonel J.B. Biffle who was attached directly to General Forrest’s staff. How proud John must have been, he was riding for one of the most famous and respected Generals of the Confederate service.

This unit was involved in a lot of action, although most were not as significant as the major battles that shaped the outcome of the Civil war.

It is also interesting to note here that during the many battles/skirmishes John’s unit was involved in and around Franklin, TN (in 1863 and 1864), that John’s future wife (Carrie Doughty) was born and being raised there in the Franklin, TN area.  She would have been about 14 or 15 years old at that time.  It is highly likely that they may have met during this period.

COMMENT: They would wed six years later, after the war, in 1870.

In April 1901, John went to the cemetery at Ashwood, TN near Columbia, TN to retrieve General Strahl’s body (as you may remember this was John’s commander when he enlisted in May 1861 in the 4th TN infantry, as a Dyer Guard).  General Strahl was killed in the battle of Franklin on 30 Nov. 1864 and his body had been buried at Ashwood, TN.   John was there at that Battle.

There was some discussion by the people of Columbia, TN to move his body to the Confederate burial cemetery in Columbia.  John and a comrade (Mr. David Shaw – also from Dyersburg) had gone to Ashwood to escort and take home General Strahl’s body for reburial. When John returned the General’s body to Dyersburg TN, there was a surprisingly large attendance of veterans at the public service held in Dyersburg for this General. The General was and is currently buried in the same cemetery where John is buried

In 1905, John (and I suspect his wife) visited the Franklin, TN battlefield and removed some timber from the siding of an old Gin house (I suspect it may very well be the one pictured at the top of this Franklin Face Book web page) where he had fought during the battle of Franklin.  From this wood, he made some ceremony gavels (quantity unknown) and sent one to the Egbert F. Jones camp (#367, UCV, Huntsville, AL,) for their use. Other gravel locations are unknown.

On 21 February 1907, John died in his hometown of Dyersburg and is buried in the old Dyersburg cemetery near the downtown area.

Please click on the following link to this web page and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.  It took me five years of extensive research to develop this man’s story.  I would greatly appreciate any feedback on it.  My email address is:  jamescareyLL@live.com

New John Paul Strain painting debuting this Saturday

A new John Paul Strain painting is debuting this Saturday, February 25th at Stonebridge Gallery in The Factory in Franklin. The new work is called “Charge Across the Harpeth” and features none other than the Confederate cavalryman, Nathan Bedford Forest.

The print is in the Battle of Franklin, Series-Print II collection. The first print in the series is General Forrest at Carnton.

The debut will take place from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Stonebridge Gallery.

Mr. Strain signs one of his paintings for me at the debut.

 

Henry Clay Smith, Co G, 4th TN Cav

Circa 1920 picture of Confederate veteran Henry Clay Smith, Co G, 4th TN Cav from Lebanon, Tennessee.

Henry Clay Smith, from Lebanon, Tenn.

Smith mustered in as an 18 year old in early December 1861. He was a prisoner of war during a part of the war, but records indicate he was released an likely served at Franklin in November 1864 (under Nathan Bedford Forrest / Chalmer’s Division).

His daughter, Corrine Davenport (below), just turned 96 years old and lives in middle Tennessee.

Ms. Corrine Davenport, living Confederate daughter

Henry Clay Smith is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery.