Battle of Franklin Tour – You Are Here – Stop #5 – Fort Granger
The 104th Ohio Infantry was placed right beside the Carter cotton gin at the Battle of Franklin. The men in that area of the field saw some of the most horrific and intense fighting during the battle. One Union soldier in the 104th Ohio, who survived the battle, wrote a vivid detail of the action from his point of view.
“These rebel boys were ordered to advance and were led upon a death as certain and sure to be met with, as there was a God in Heaven. Right into the fury of a foe mostly concealed from their view and worthy of their valor,” Adam Weaver wrote.
“The shells from our rifled cannons located north of town [Weaver is talking about Fort Granger] , tore dreadful gaps, in the ranks of the rebels, with only the visible effects of causing them to close up the openings and press ever forward.”
The Federal army, under Schofield, had the huge advantage of Ft. Granger, which sat just south of the Harpeth River, and east of Columbia Pike.
The picture below shows the view from Granger. From the yellow pin designating Ft. Granger one can see Carnton at 12 o’clock (about a mile away), the Carter House at 2 o’clock (about a half mile away), and Winstead Hill at 1 o’clock (about 2 1/2 miles away.
Granger had several large guns in position during the Battle of Franklin. Loring’sand Wathall’s Divisions came from the southwest, crossing Carnton plantation. These Granger guns decimated these divisions from nearly a mile away.
The next map shows the Confederate Army of Tennessee as it approached the Federal lines at Franklin. Notice how the Federal position leveraged several geographic features. (1) Using the Harpeth River and the Nashville-Decatur Railroad as a natural barrier for their far left flank. (2) Position of Ft. Granger to protect that left flank. (3) The osage orange abatis also protected the far left flank, making it nearly impossible to penetrate.
Here’s a schematic of the design and layout of Fort Granger.
Here is a video showing the middle bastion just as you enter the fort.
Personal or eyewitness accounts:
“Featherston’s right-most regiments crawled along the ground trying to find another way through the obstructions, but when they curled into the railroad cut marking Stiles’ left, the 120th Indiana plastered their van with musketry. Farther north, Battery M, 4th U.S. Artillery, began to spray the cut with canister, while Cockerill’s gunners in Fort Granger added their own plunging fire. Even a battery east across the Harpeth weighed in. Caught in the maelstrom were Buford’s troopers, belly down on the banks of the Harpeth trying to escape the murderous sweep.”
– Patrick Brennan, The Battle of Franklin, North & South magazine, January 2005, Vol. 8., No.1: pages 39-40.
Dr. George C. Phillips, Surgeon for the 22nd Mississippi, watching the Battle with Surgeon W.B. Hall on top of a hill wrote,
“This was the first and only time I ever heard our bands playing upon a battlefield and at the beginning of a charge…When within three hundred yards of their breastworks a cannon boomed from their fort (Granger) across the little river north of the town. This seemed to be the signal waited for. A sheet of flame and smoke burst from the entire crescent of the enemy’s breastworks, answered by the Rebel yell and musketry fire from our men. In a moment the whole valley was so filled with smoke that nothing could be seen but the flashes of cannon and musketry.”
Additional relevant content on this site:
- Prominent Franklin resident – Royce – prosecutes claim for loss of home during the Civil War
- Franklin stockade fort drawing, 1862
- Franklin resident’s (Dr. J.S. Park’s) home spared by the Federals due to oath of allegiance
To order my book on Fort Granger, or to learn more click on http://www.FortGranger.US
Next Stop #6 – Historic Carnton House