Category Archives: States Rights Gist

Col. Ellison Capers, officer with 24th South Carolina, served at Franklin

This is the overcoat worn by Col. Ellison Capers, of the 24th South Carolina, Gist’s Brigade, Brown’s Division.  Fifteen (15) 24th SC boys are buried at McGavock Cemetery.

Picture credit: Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (p. 150).

Regarding action Capers and the 24th saw at Franklin, Jacobson writes:

From the west side of the Columbia Turnpike, the sights of the artillery fire smashing into A.P. Stewart’s men was unforgettable. Everywhere the sights were incredible, almost breathtaking. Col. Ellison Capers was in the 24th South Carolina west of the pike and his regiment,  part of States Rights Gist’s Brigade, was on John Brown’s left flank. Some distance in advance and to the left of the South Carolinians stood magnificent Everbright mansion, home to the widowed Rebecca Bostick. But it was what Col. Capers saw to his right that he never forgot. At Capers and his fellow Palmetto Staters began to crest the rising terrain around Privet Knob, the ground stretching from the Columbia Pike to the Lewisburg Pike opened up into view. Capers wrote that ‘we beheld the magnificent spectacle the battle-field presented – bands were playing, general and staff officers and gallant couriers were riding in front of and between the lines, 100 battle-flags were waving in the smoke of battle, and bursting shells were wreathing the air with great circles of smoke, while 20,000 brave men were marching in perfect order against the foe.'”
Jacobson, For Cause and For Country: p. 278-279.

Order of the Battle of Franklin (11/30/64), Confederate Army of Tennessee, General John Bell Hood, commanding

Confederate Order of Battle, Franklin, TN (November 30, 1864)

Army of Tennessee, General John Bell Hood, commanding

INFANTRY

LEE’s Corps: Leut. Gen. Stephen D. Lee

Johnson’s Division: Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson

Deas’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Zachariah C. Deas
19th, 22d, 25th, 39th, 50th Alabama

Manigault’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Arthur M. Manigault, Lt. Col. William L. Butler (Nashville)
24th, 28th, 34th Alabama; 10th, 19th South Carolina

Sharp’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Sharp
7th, 9th, 10th, 41st, 44th Mississippi
9th Battalion Mississippi Sharpshooters

Brantley’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. William F. Brantley
24th, 27th, 29th, 30th, 34th Mississippi
Dismounted Cavalry Company

Stevenson’s Division: Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson

Cummings’s Brigade: Col. Elihu P. Watkins
24th, 36th, 39th, 56th Georgia

Pettus’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Edmund W. Pettus
20th, 23d, 30th, 31st, 46th Alabama

Clayton’s Division: Maj. Gen. Henry D. Clayton

Stovall’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Marcellus A. Stovall
40th, 41st, 42d, 43d, 52d Georgia

Gibson’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Randall L. Gibson
1st, 4th, 13th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 30th Louisiana
4th Lousiana Battalion; 14th Lousiana Battalion Sharpshooters

Holtzclaw’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. James Holtzclaw
18th, 32d, 36th, 38th, 58th Alabama

STEWART’s Corps: Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart

Loring’s Division: Maj. Gen. William W. Loring

Featherston’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Featherston
1st, 3d, 22d, 31st, 33d, 40th Mississippi
1st Mississippi Battalion

Adams’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. John Adams; Col. Robert Lowry (Nashville)
6th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 23d, 43d Mississippi

Scott’s Brigade: Brig Gen Thomas M. Scott; Col. John Snodgrass (Nashville)
27th, 35th, 49th, 55th, 57th Alabama; 12th Louisiana

French’s Division: Maj. Gen. Samuel G. French, Brig. Gen. Claudius Sears

Ector’s Brigade: Col. David Coleman
29th, 30th North Carolina, 9th Texas
10th, 14th, 32d Texas Cavalry (dismounted)

Cockrell’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. F.M. Cockrell, brigade detached prior to Nashville under Col. Peter C. Flournoy
1st, 2nd, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th Missouri
1st Missouri Cavalry (dismounted)
3d Missouri Cavalry Battalion (dismounted)

Sears’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Claudius Sears, Lt. Col. Reuben H. Shotwell (Nashville)
4th, 35th, 36th, 39th, 46th Mississippi
7th Mississippi Battalion

Walthall’s Division: Maj. Gen. Edward C. Walthall

Quarles’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. William A. Quarles; Brig. Gen. George D.
Johnson
(Nashville)
1st Alabama; 42d, 46th, 48th, 49th, 53d, 55th Tennessee

Cantley’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Charles M. Shelley
17th, 26th, 29th Alabama; 37th Mississippi

Reynold’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Daniel H. Reynolds
4th, 9th, 25th Arkansas
1st, 2d Arkansas Mounted Rifles (dismounted)

CHEATHAM’s Corps: Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham

Cleburne’s Division: Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne, Brig. Gen. James A. Smith (Nashville)

Lowrey’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey (Franklin)
16th, 33d, 45th Alabama; 5th, 8th, 32d Mississippi;
3d Mississippi Battalion

Govan’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Daniel C. Govan
1st, 2d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 19th, 24th
Arkansas

Granbury’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Hiram B. Granbury; Capt. E. T. Broughton
5th Confederate; 35th Tennessee; 6th, 7th, 10th, 15th Texas
17th, 18th, 24th, 25th Texas Cavalry (dismounted); Nutt’s Louisana Cavalry (dismounted)

Smith’s Brigade: on detached duty before Nashville-
Brig. Gen. James A. Smith; Col. Charles H. Olmstead
(Nashville)
54th, 57th, 63d Georgia; 1st Georgia Volunteers

Brown’s (Cheatham’s Old) Division: Maj. Gen. John C. Brown; Brig. Gen. Mark P. Lowrey (Nashville)

Gist’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. States Rights Gist; Lt. Col. Zachariah L. Watters (Nashville)
46th, 65th Georgia; 2d Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters; 16th, 24th South Carolina

Maney’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. John C. Carter; Col. Hume R. Field (Nashville)
1st, 4th (provisional), 6th, 8th, 9th, 16th, 27th, 28th, 50th Tennessee

Strahl’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Otho F. Strahl; Col. AndrewJ. Kellar (Nashville)
4th, 5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, 33d, 38th, 41st Tennessee

Vaughan’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. George W. Gordon; Col. William M. Watkins (Nashville)
11th, 12th, 13th, 29th, 47th, 51st, 52nd, 154th Tennessee

Bate’s Division: Maj. Gen. William B. Bate

Tyler’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Thomas B. Smith
37th Georgia; 4th Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters;
2d, 10th, 20th, 37th Tennessee

Finley’s Brigade: Col. Robert Bullock; Maj. Jacob A. Lash
1st, 3d, 4th, 6th, 7th Florida, 1st Florida Cavalry (dismounted)

Jackson’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Henry R. Jackson
25th, 29th, 30th Georgia; 1st Georgia Confederate;
1st Battalion Georgia Sharpshooters

Artillery:

LEE’s Corps: 1) Col. Robert F. Beckham 2) Maj. John W. Johnston

Courtney’s Battalion: Capt. James P. Douglas
Dent’s Alabama Battery; Douglas’s Texas Battery; Garrity’s Alabama Battery

Eldridge’s Battalion: Capt. Charles E. Fenner
Eufaula Alabama Battery; Fenner’s Louisiana Battery; Stanford’s Miss Battery

Johnson’s Battalion: Capt. John B. Rowan
Corput’s Georgia Battery; Marshall’s Tenn Battery; Stephens’s Light Artillery

STEWART’s Corps: Lt. Col. Samuel C. Williams

Truehart’s Battalion:
Lumsden’s Alabama Battery; Selden’s Alabama Battery

Myrick’s Battalion:
Bouanchaud’s Louisiana Battery; Cowan’s Miss Battery,
Darden’s Miss Battery

Storrs’ Battalion:
Guiborps Missouri Battery; Hoskin’s Miss Battery; Kolb’s Alabama Battery

CHEATHAM’s Corps: Col. Melancthon Smith

Hoxton’s Battalion:
Perry’s Florida Battery; Phelan’s Alabama Battery; Turner’s Miss Battery

Hotchkiss’s Battalion:
Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery; Goldtwaite’s Alabama Battery; Key’s Arkansas Battery

Cobb’s Battalion:
Ferguson’s South Carolina Battery; Phillip’s [Mabane’s]

Cavalry: Maj. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest

CHALMER’s Division: Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers

Rucker’s Brigade: Col. Edmund W. Rucker
7th Alabama Cavalry; 5th Miss Cavalry; 7th, 12th, 14th, 15th Tenn Cavalry; Forrest’s Regiment Tenn Cavalry

Biffle’s Brigade: Col. Jacob B. Biffle, 10th Tenn Cavalry

BUFORD’s Division: Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford

Bell’s Brigade: Col. Tyree H. Bell
2d, 19th, 20th, 21st Tenn Cavalry; Nixon’s Tenn Cavalry Regiment

Crossland’s Brigade: Col. Edward Crossland
3d, 7th, 8th, 12th Kentucky Mounted Infantry;
12th Kentucky Cavalry; Huey’s Kentucky Battalion

JACKSON’s Division: Brig. Gen. William H. Jackson

Armstrong’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Frank C. Armstrong
1st, 2d, 28th Miss Cavalry; Ballentine’s Miss Regiment

Ross’s Brigade: Brig. Gen. Lawrence S. Ross
5th, 6th, 9th Texas Cavalry; 1st Texas Legion

ARTILLERY

Morton’s Tennesse Battery, Slocumb’s Louisiana Battery

Maj.-Gen. John C. Brown’s account of the Spring Hill situation

Memphis, Tenn.,
May 20, 1877.

Maj.-Gen. John C. Brown, commanding Cheatham’s division, gave the following account of the same affair:

My division comprised four brigades of infantry, commanded respectively by Gen. S. R. Gist, of South Carolina, Gens. O. F. Strahl, O. W. Gordon and John C. Carter, of Tennessee. The whole command on the morning of November 29, 1864, when I left my bivouac on the Mooresville turnpike in front of Columbia, Tenn., numbered not exceeding 2,750 effective men. Gist’s brigade was the largest and Strahl’s was next in numerical strength, those of Gordon and Carter being about equal in the number of effective men. We started on the march about sunrise, and after traversing cedar brakes and pathless woods, crossed Duck river by a pontoon previously laid, about four miles above Columbia, at or near what was known as Davis’ ferry or Davis’ ford. Conforming to the daily alternations, my division was the rear of your (Cheatham’s) corps. After crossing Duck river, as I now recollect, at or near Bear creek, the commanding general, apprehending an attack on our left flank, ordered your corps, in its march from that point, to move in two parallel columns, so that it could come instantly into action in two lines of battle if attacked on the flank. Accordingly, my division was ordered to form the supporting column, and for that purpose to leave the road by which the main body was moving, and so conform its movements to that of the other two divisions (Cleburne’s and Bate’s), that in coming into action to meet an attack on our left flank, it would occupy a place in rear of and about 400 yards distant from the front line of battle. The march thence to Rutherford’s creek was made pursuant to these orders, and the whole distance thus traversed (five or six miles) was through fields and woods and over rough ground, adding greatly to the fatigues of the day. About the commencement of this movement, or soon afterward, by the orders of the commanding general in person, the whole of Gist’s and about one-half of Strahl’s brigade were detached for picket duty, to be relieved by the orders of the commanding general, thus leaving me with about one-half of my division.

When near Rutherford’s creek, learning that a crossing was not practicable east of the road, I changed the direction of the march to the left into the road and found Bate’s division preparing to cross the stream. After reaching the north bank of the stream, I was ordered to pursue the road leading in the direction of the Caldwell place, while Cleburne’s and Bate’s divisions moved at an angle to the left; but before reaching the Dr. Caldwell house, I was ordered to change the direction of my column to the left, and we reached the “Lewisburg,” or “Rally Hill” pike, near the toll-gate, a distance of one and a half mile from Spring Hill. This was within an hour or an hour and a half of sunset. I could distinctly see the enemy in force, both infantry and artillery, at Spring Hill, but did not, and perhaps could not at that point, see either troops or wagons, moving on the Columbia pike. Forrest’s cavalry were on higher ground northeast of my position. I was ordered to form line of battle and “take” Spring Hill. Gist’s brigade and the detachment from Strahl had not reported. I formed my line as speedily as worn troops could move, and after throwing forward a skirmish line, advanced 400 or 500 yards, when I discovered a line of the enemy thrown out of Spring Hill, across and threatening my right flank, and I then discovered for the first time that General Forrest’s cavalry, which I had been assured would protect my right, had been ordered to another part of the field, leaving me without any protection on my right flank or support in rear. I had neither artillery nor cavalry, and was left in a position where I must meet with inevitable disaster if I advanced on Spring Hill. A hasty consultation with my brigade commanders resulted in a determination to suspend the advance and confer with the corps commander. I need not remind you that in a very few minutes you were upon the field and fully approved of what had been done, as did also General Hood a little later, when he directed that the attack should be delayed until the arrival of Generals Stewart and Gist, and in the meanwhile, that the whole command should be held under orders to advance at a moment’s notice. General Gist’s brigade reported a little after nightfall and was immediately placed in position on my right. General Stewart’s corps came up later and went into bivouac on the stream in rear of my right, where it remained until the following morning. I received no further orders that evening or during the night to advance or change my position. After daylight on the morning of the 30th I took up the line of march for Franklin, the enemy in the meantime having preceded us under circumstances of which you are fully advised.

On the march to Franklin, General Cleburne, with whom I had long enjoyed very close personal relations, sent a message to the head of my column requesting an interview. Allowing my column to pass on, I awaited his arrival. When he came up we rode apart from the column through the fields, and he told me with much feeling that he had heard that the commanding general was endeavoring to place upon him the responsibility of allowing the enemy to pass our position on the night previous. I replied to him that I had heard nothing on that subject and that I hoped he was mistaken. He said, “No, I think not; my information comes through a very reliable channel,” and said that he could not afford to rest under such an imputation, and should certainly have the matter investigated to the fullest extent, as soon as we were away from the immediate presence of the enemy. General Cleburne was quite angry and evidently was deeply hurt, under the conviction that the com-mander-in-chief had censured him. I asked General Cleburne who was responsible for the escape of the enemy during the afternoon and night previous. In reply to that inquiry he indulged in some criticisms of a command (Bate’s division) occupying a position on his left, and concluded by saying that of course the responsibility rests with the commander-in-chief, as he was upon the field during the afternoon and was fully advised during the night of the movement of the enemy. The conversation at this point was abruptly terminated by the arrival of orders from yourself or the commanding general. As he left he said, “We will resume this conversation at the first convenient moment,” but in less than three hours after that time this gallant soldier was a corpse upon the bloody field of Franklin.

Source: Confederate Military History Volume 8:
Tennessee Chapter X

Also see:

  • Wikipedia article on John C. Brown

Soldier-letter, 30th Georgia, details Battle

Letter from Pvt James A. McCord of Co G, 30th Georgia Infantry to his brother Capt William McCord who commanded Company G until wounded at Jonesboro, Georgia August 31, 1864. Capt McCord was recuperating at his home in Jackson, Georgia when this letter was written. (From Special Collections of the Woodruff Library of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia)

Franklin Tenn
Decr. 3rd 1864
Dear Brother

After a long and very hard march, we arrived at this place, the 30th day of Novr. about 4 oclk when we went immediately into a fight and every one says that it was the hardest fought battle that has been fought during the war. There is no telling what our loss is. We lost ten Genls killed & wounded. Genls Cleburne Granburry, Gist, Adams, Strahl, & one more I forgotten were killed and four that were wounded. Granbury’s celebrated brigade left this place yesterday morning with 137 Guns all told. Hall & Jno Tom Gillispie(1) was both killed dead on the field, and nearly every one of the company fared the same fate. The larger portion of Genl Bates Div acted very cowardly in the first of the fight. Tyler’s & Finley’s and Jackson’s left would not charge the works.

I was skirmishing in front of Tyler & Finley and they run three times and left me on the hill begging them to come back when one of old Abes boys plugged me in the right foot, making it a severe wound, tho not a serious one I hope. I am well cared for. I do not know any place where I could fare as I do here. The people are the kindest in the world especially the Ladies. The world does not know their superior and I doubt that their equal can be found.

Lt McKibbin(2) wounded in left fore arm. Troy Saunders(3) slightly in arm (gone back to Co.) Mo Mays(4) & Ben Deason(5) were wounded but not dangerous I believe. I do not know how your company suffered (but little I believe). No Country knows a braver man than Genl Bates. I am proud to say that there was no one between me and the Yankees when I was wounded. You will have to excuse this short letter as my foot pains me a great deal & I do not know when I will get a chance to send off though I believe I will put it in the P.O. Give my love to all.
Truly yours
Jas A McCord(6)

P.S. This fight lasted eleven hours.

Notes:

(1) Cpl William Hall Gillespie, Co B, 7th Texas Infantry was mortally wounded and died at Franklin, Tennessee. He is buried in McGavock Confederate Cemetery, Texas Section 3, Grave 39. His brother, Pvt John Thomas Gillespie Jr. was in the same company and was also killed at Franklin. He is buried in Texas Section 2, Grave 26.

(2) Lt Martin Van Buren McKibben enlisted as 5th Sgt, Co I, 30th Georgia Infantry on September 25, 1861. He was appointed 1st Sgt May 13, 1862. Promoted to Jr 2nd Lt on July 16, 1863 and 2nd Lt in 1864. He was severely wounded at Franklin on November 30, 1864. He was listed in Saint Mary’s Hospital at West Point, Mississippi on January 13, 1865.

(3) Pvt Troy S. Saunders enlisted in Co I, 30th Georgia Infantry on June 30, 1863. He was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia on September 19, 1863. He was listed in Direction Hospital at Griffin, Georgia on December 22, 1863. No further record.

(4) Pvt Robert W. Mays enlisted in Co I, 30th Georgia Infantry on September 25, 1861. Roll for December 31, 1862, last on file, shows him ‘present’. Pension records show he was wounded in the right breast at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia on September 19, 1863. Born 1842, he died in Butts County, Georgia on December 8, 1918.

(5) Pvt Benjamin T. Deason enlisted in Co I, 30th Georgia Infantry on September 25, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Franklin and captured in one of the Confederate hospitals there on December 17, 1864. He was released from Camp Chase, Ohio Prison on June 13, 1865.

(6) Pvt James A. McCord enlisted on November 1, 1862. In January 1864, he was on detail duty as a clerk at the General Hospital in Lauderdale Springs, Mississippi due to a disability. He was wounded at the Battle of Franklin and captured in one of the Confederate hospitals there on December 17, 1864. He was released from Camp Chase, Ohio Prison in June, 1865.

Content taken from Save the Franklin Battlefield web site