The Battle of Franklin
On the afternoon of November 30, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood made a decision to attack General John Schofield’s Federal army, despite the objections of several subordinate officers. Hood chose to advance his Army of Tennessee into battle, and onto the pages of history.
As Northern soldiers sang hymns, and Southern bands played “The Bonnie Blue Flag” and “Dixie,” Confederate infantrymen - exhausted, hungry and ill-clothed - charged the well-fortified Federal defensive line. The fighting was almost immediately brutal and savage. Over the course of just five short hours, one of the bloodiest and costliest fights of the American Civil War raged across the fields south of Franklin, Tennessee.
More soldiers from the Confederate Army were killed in those five hours than the Federal Army lost in the Seven Days Campaign, or at the Battle of Shiloh. Six Confederate generals were also killed or mortally wounded. Nearly 10,000 American soldiers became casualties, and the Federal army administered a crippling defeat upon Hood’s beleaguered force.
The Battle of Franklin was a final turning point in the war in the West that sealed the end of the Confederacy, and out of the ashes of the Civil War the United States was reborn. Many Civil War historians consider Franklin to be one of the most consequential battles of the war. And what once was written off as lost to development has become the nation’s largest public/private Civil War battlefield reclamation project ever attempted. Franklin’s Charge has achieved much, but much work still remains.