Thursday, December 01, 2005

One Small Step Forward

On November 30, 1864, the once mighty Army of Tennessee met the Union Army of the Ohio at The Battle of Franklin.

In five hours of brutal fighting (some would call it slaughter) that followed, the Confederate army suffered 6,252 casualties, including 1,750 dead. Fifteen Rebel generals were among the casualties, including six killed (one was Major General Patrick Cleburne). The Union soldiers had 1,033 wounded, 189 killed, and 1,104 missing. The Army of Tennessee ceased to exist as an effective fighting force that night.

In Franklin, the signs of battle still remain. The Carter House still has the scars of thousands of bullet and cannon holes. Carnton mansion still has blood stains on its floors, dating back to when the house was used as a battle hospital. Until the last few years, you could still stand on Winstead Hill and look down into Franklin and almost imagine the scene 141 years ago.

Development and growth has done more to change the city than clashing of 50,000 men that November day in 1864. A Target now stands where the Confederates made their ill-fated charge, a Pizza Hut where generals fell.

The town of Franklin is now pushing back time and helping to preserve and restore the areas that can be saved. The Pizza Hut used to stand where General Patrick Cleburne fell. The town purchased the site for $300,000 and plans on converting the area into a park to memorialize the events that took place there. This is a small step in a movement led by Civil War preservationists across the country to preserve our nation's battlefields. From Disney trying to build a park on a battlefield to casinos aiming at Gettysburg, our history can disappear right before our eyes if we don't try to save it.

More Resources
Battle of Franklin facts
Maps of the battle
Carter House
Carnton Mansion
Civil War Preservation Trust report on Franklin