The West Flank at Franklin

Attack of Cheatham & Lee

To the west of the Columbia Pike, Bates Division of Cheatham’s Corps attacked along a front between what is now Natchez Street and West Main Street (Carters Creek Pike). This terrain was characterized by open fields except for a dense grove of locust trees to the southwest of the Carter House. The locust grove was a dense thicket of vegetation and was a natural barrier to the attacking Confederate troops. Advancing after sunset, Bate’s three divisions temporarily broke the Union line but were driven back with heavy losses. Later that evening around 9:00 P.M., Edward Johnson’s Division of Lee’s Corps was ordered to attack and they hit the Union line between the locust grove and Natchez Street. This assault was also unsuccessful and cost Johnson’s Division over 500 casualties.

Today’s Landscape

The landscape comprising the West Flank remained largely open farmland until the late 19th century. By the 1870s several brick and frame dwellings were constructed along Fair Street and West Main Street in the vicinity of the Union earthworks. These dwellings were built within the Hincheyville subdivision and are part of the Hincheyville Historic District.

During the first decade of the twentieth century, a number of new subdivisions were created in the West Flank area. The largest of these was between Columbia Pike and Carter’s Creek Pike. Appropriately named Battle Ground Park, this 1911 addition consisted of fifty-four lots along two blocks directly west of Columbia Pike. The land north of the subdivision was owned by Battle Ground Academy, which was established in 1889 as a boys school, and land to the south was devoted to the fair grounds. In 1909, the Lynnhurst subdivision consisting of eleven lots was established just west of Carter’s Creek Pike (now West Main Street) by the American Land Company. Just north of this, the thirty- six lot Thorner and Cannons Addition was created in 1911 between what is now West Main and Natchez Street. Here Bates’s Division of Cheatham’s Corps and Johnson’s Division attacked the Union front suffering hundreds of casualties.

Text credit:

Franklin Battlefield Preservation Plan (n.d.): p. 16