Category Archives: Newspaper

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.

New York Times’ headlines for December 5th, 1864 – coverage of the Battle of Franklin

Heavy Skirmishing in Front of Nashville.
A Reconnoitering Expedition No Rebels Across the River.
Surrender of a Blockhouse to the Rebels.
Rebel Views of Hood’s Movement.
Gen. Stanley’s Wound The Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad.

Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.
NASHVILLE, Saturday, Dec. 3. After two days of wet weather, the clouds disappeared this morning, and the day has been magnificent. I have been on our right all day. Our line of battle extends around the suburbs of the city, our right and left, respectively, resting on the Cumber land River. The enemy’s line of battle is just two miles from the city. Quite heavy skirmishing in front of Gens. A.J. SMITH and WOOD has been going on all the afternoon by sharpshooters on both sides. On the right of our centre, near Widow ACKLIN’s place, the enemy’s skirmishers became troublesome, taking refuge behind houses on Franklin, Granny White and Highborn pikes. Two houses were burned, several injured and ruined by our artillery. We used considerable artillery this afternoon on our right and right centre, but elicited no reply from the rebel artillery. The supposition is that they are short of this kind of ammunition. Several of our men were killed to-day by their sharpshooters, including two members of the Sixth Ohio Battery. The enemy’s line can be seen quite plainly with the naked eve. All railroading south of this city has ceased to exist. Murfreesboro, Bridgeport and Chattanooga are deemed safe. Events of some moment are anticipated to-morrow. It may be considered an impossibility for the rebels to cross the river either on our right or left, as Commodore FITCH is here with a fleet of gunboats. Johnsonville has been evacuated. Everything was removed from all the railroads in safety. Thirty-three locomotives and trains were sent North this morning. Nashville and the surrounding country for miles has been converted into a huge fortress. The destruction of rebel property in deface of the city will be almost incalculable. As almost all the rich property-owners hereabouts are rebel sympathizers, the rage manifested by this portion of the community at the approach of the rebel army, necessitating the destruction of their property, is unbounded. Gen. FRANK CHEATHAM, commanding one of the rebel corps, has his headquarters at the house of Mr. EDMONSON, on the Murfreesboro pike, four miles from the city. He told EDMONSON that HOOD had orders to go to Nashville or to hell. There is plenty of water in the river for boating purposes Vague rumors are afloat about FORREST crossing the river, and BEECKINRIDGE joining HOOD, all of which are untrue. The situation of our forces is considered perfectly satisfactory. BENJ. C. TRUMAN.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 4. No new developments have taken place to-day, except that our army still encircles the city on the southeast, its wings resting on the Cumberland River. The enemy’s lines are clearly to be seen from high points in the suburbs and from the capitol. They are in trenching themselves in a southwestern direction, about three miles from the city. During the day heavy skirmishing occurred on our left and progressed along the line to the centre. Many persons witnessed the cannonading. Along the right of our lines nothing of importance transpired to-day. The general opinion is that HOOD will attack the Federal forces in front of Nashville. A Federal cavalry force has patrolled the north bank of the river at the fords to prevent cavalry from crossing, as numerous unsuccessful attempts have been made by them to cross since the 1st inst. Johnsonville has been evacuated, and the road has been uninterrupted, and part of the trains from there are advancing to this point by land. It is rumored here to-day that FORREST has placed a pontoon bridge across the river above the city, and that MARMADUKE has occupied Johnsonville. Both are without foundation. The first block-house on the Chattanooga road, four miles from the city, defended by negroes, commanded by Col. JOHNSON, of the colored infantry, who surrendered Dalton, Ga., and was paroled, held out unit this afternoon, when they surrendered. Col. JOHNSON and a portion of his men escaping on a train. The remainder were captured. The train was fired into. Several jumped from the train into the river and escaped. Col. JOHNSON among them, who is in the city tonight. A reconnoitering party sent Thursday returned today, having gone eighty miles up the river. They report that no rebels were seen or heard of crossing the river, and none appeared upon the banks. A rebel deserter, who came in to-day, reports that Gen. S.D. LEE published an order to his men Friday morning, complimenting them on their bravery, devotion, & c, thanking them for the victory won at Franklin, and assuring them that if true to themselves now in front of Nashville, they would be soon enabled to enter and take possession of a vast amount of stores contained there. Two prisoners were brought in to-day, Lieut. HICKMAN, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, four miles from the city, and C.H. GARDY, of FORD’s Forty-eighth Georgia Infantry. The water on the shoals is nine feet deep, and still rising. REBEL VIEW OF HOOD’s CAMPAIGN. From the Sentinel. The news from Tennessee through United States papers, is of further retrograde without fight on the part of the Federal General This means, of course, further advance of the army of Gen. HOOD. By previous reports. Gen. FORREST was upon a flank movement. The next day tells the result. THOMAS fell back from Columbia to Franklin, twenty-five miles in twenty-four hours, a rapidity of movement which is a complement to his celerity, and evidence of the fright which hurried him. It was appropriately celebrated in New-York by a rise in gold. Franklin, at or near which point we are to suppose that HOOD had arrived. is only nineteen miles by rail from Nashville. Another flanker by FORREST, will send THOMAS behind the fortifications of the latter city. What may be HOOD’s further movements, we can only conjecture, so can the enemy. It would be a small thing for FORREST to do, to swing around Nashville and cut its Northern connections. HOOD has probably but to place the city in his rear to frighten THOMAS out of it. It would seem very clear that HOOD has already ccomplished enough to restore almost the whole of Tennessee to our side of the military lines. He has but to march upon East Tennessee to regain complete possession there without a blow. Lost by the treachery of the Commander at Cumberland Gap, it may soon be ours again. Isolated, cut off and unsupported, Chattanooga would then become utterly untenable by the enemy. This would restore to us our line of railway through Knoxville and Chattanooga to the Southwest. The campaign would indeed be glorious that should close with such an advantage to our cause; and yet it is a consummation which seems within our grasp. It may be that HOOD iS striving for still more. It may be that Nashville is to be regained, and that the feet of his soldiers will press the soil of Kentucky here halt is called. We cherish large hopes from his enterprise, but trust that what is now in our-grasp will not be too much imperiled in an effort at more. If it shall please Heaven to favor us with the success which it now seems reasonable to expect in Tennessee, it will be an overwhelming rebuke of the braggart SHERMAN, and hundredfold compensation for the pigs he may steal, and the corncribs he may burn, while running the gauntlet in Georgia. We watt with solicitude and yet with cheering anticipations, for further tidings. Gen. Stanley’s Wound — The Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad. LOUISVILLE, Dec. 3. Maj.-Gen. D.S. STANLEY left here by the mail-boat for his home at Yellow Springs, Ohio, this afternoon. His wound is rattier painful but not dangerous, and Col. SCOTT, the Surgeon-General of Kentucky, expresses the opinion that he will be able to reenter the service within fifteen or twenty days. Yesterday the rolling stock of the Chattanooga and Nashville Railroad, consisting of large numbers of trains, was ordered to Louisville. The order was countermanded to-day. The passenger train from Nashville has arrived three hours behind time.

December 3rd, 1864 NYT’s account of Battle of Franklin



The Position of the Opposing Armies.




Hood Demonstrating Toward Murfreesboro


Further Details of the Battle of Franklin




The Rebel Loss Fully Six Thousand — Our Loss One Thousand




Nashville, Friday, Dec. 2

I have received full accounts of the late battle at Franklin, and its antecedents, which was one of the the most brilliant in its general results of the war. For three days sharp skirmishing was kept up during the retirement of our army from Duck River to Franklin, during which time a multiplicity of exploits and successes resulted to the Federal arms.

Gen. Cox conducted the rear guard, and on the 29th ultimately achieved a splendid victory over the rebels at Spring Hill, while General Wilson’s cavalry gained a series of important successes over Forrest’s advance, under Roddy, on the pike between Turner’s and Spring Hill.

During the afternoon of the 30th ultimately the rebel army was sorely pressed under Hood, who had Cheatam’s and Stewart’s corps, and a portion of Dick Taylor’s command, numbering in all over 22,009 men. Owing to Cox’s gallant check at Spring Hill, and portion of the Fourth and Twenty-third Corps were enabled to gain Franklin early in the day, where they threw up a line of breastworks, extending from one end to the other of the curve in the river, behind which our entire infantry command took position.

At precisely four o’clock (afternoon) the entire rebel force made a charge, and succeeded in making a temporary break in our centre, commanded by Wagner. With characteristic impetuosity the soldiers composing Cheatham’s Corps dashed into the breastworks, and cooperating with the attacking party on their left, attempted to envelop and destroy our right. In the nick of time the troops ofWagner were rallied, and throwing their whole force on the rebel column, drove back the storming party in great disorder, capturing several hundred prisoner. Four hours after the rebels charged on these lines, but were repulsed as often with great slaughter.

The rebels numbered at least two to our one, as nearly half of the Fourth andTwenty-third Corps were in reserve. The rebels loss in killed is three times ours, while their wounded is at least six times as large as ours. The wounded of our men are mostly in the head, arms and body.

The artillery fire of the enemy was great precision, but their ammunition consisted chiefly of shot and shell, while for two hours immense quantities of more murderous missles were hurled with fearful fury into the rebel lines. All the attempt of the rebels to gain a permanent advantage were frustrated, and at dark the Federal position was uncharged, while the rebels retired, under cover of the woods, south of the Columbia pike.

The rebel loss, as before stated, is fully 6,000, including over 1,000 prisoners, an unsual number of whom were officers. Our loss reached a total of about 1,000.

An artillery duel was kept up till nearly midnight, when our troops commenced crossing Harpeth River, bringing all our trains and paraphernalia over in safety before daylight.

The army then retired to within four miles of this city, at which point our frontline confronts the enemy. The falling back of the army is in accordance with the programme, and the battle at Franklin, although of the most brilliant kind, was an impromptu affair, and brought about owing to the necessity of checking the rebel advance to secure a safe crossing of the river by our troops.



Nashville, Friday, Dec. 2

Additional reports received increase the magnitude of the late victory at Franklin. Thirty stands of colors were captured by our forces. The Forty-ninth Indianacaptured five, the Eighty-eighth Illinois three, Reilly’s old brigade eight, and theTwenty-third Corps captured four.

Gen. Stanley, commanding the Fourth Corps, had a very narrow escape, having had a horse killed under him, and was shot in the right shoulder, the ball travelling the back and going out of the left shoulder. He is in the city, and though suffering considerably, is still attending to duty.

It is confirmed that Gen. Cleburne, of Tennessee, is killed.

Gen. Kimball, commanding the Second Division of General Stanley’s Corps, in the heat of the battle passed a rebel Major-General, who told him he was mortally wounded. His men succeeded in carrying off his body.

It is believed that Hood’s main army is threatening MurfreesboroForrest’srebel cavalry is demonstrating on our front and right flank.

Commander Fitch is here with a fleet of boats and Iron-clads. Sufficient forces have arrived to insure not only the safety of Nashville, but another Union victory, is case of a battle, under any circumstances.

The military men all unite in the opinion that Gen. Stanley and Schofieldconducted the retirement from Pulaski in the face of the enemy with admirable skill, and crowning all with a magnificent Union victory at Franklin.