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Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Retreat from Nashville

Rearguard Action

— Hood's Campaign —

 
 
Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action Marker image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
1. Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action Marker
Inscription.  (prelude)
In September 1864, after Union Gen. William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood at Atlanta, Hood led the Army of Tennessee northwest against Sherman's supply lines. Rather than contest Sherman's "March to the Sea." Hood moved north into Tennessee. Gen. John M. Schofield, detached from Sherman's army, delayed Hood at Columbia and Spring hill before falling back to Franklin. The bloodbath here on November 30 crippled the Confederates, but they followed Schofield to the outskirts of Nashville and Union Gen. George H. Thomas's strong defenses. Hood's campaign ended when Thomas crushed his army on December 15-16.

(main text)
After the defeat on December 15-16, 1864, at Nashville, about twenty miles north of here, Confederate Gen. John B. Hood and the dispirited Army of Tennessee retreated south toward Franklin. Union Gen. George H. Thomas's forces followed closely. Late in the morning of December 17, the rain soaked and chilled the Confederates to the bone, adding to their misery. Across these rolling fields, Federal cavalry units under Gen. James H. Wilson closed in. Hood's rear guard,
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Gen. Stephen D. Lee's hardened veterans, held a line at the Harpeth River near here. Wilson's 3,000 cavalrymen charged the Confederates on both sides of the Franklin Pike to rout and destroy the remnants of the Army of Tennessee. Confederate cavalrymen and artillery firing from the riverbank slowed the Federal attack and enabled Lee's men to escape across the river. When Confederate engineers toppled the railroad trestle, some of their comrades were stranded on the northern bank. A few swam across to temporary safety. The Federal cavalry charge, much of it over what is today known as Harlinsdale Farm, was among the largest of the war. As the day progressed, the fighting continued through and south of Franklin. Nightfall finally ended the cavalry attacks on the worn-out Southerners, who continued their flight south.

(sidebars)
The Confederates crossed the Harpeth River on a narrow pontoon bridge. Men were panicking, and when one slipped and fell, no one helped him. An officer wrote years after the event, "The last I saw of him, he was still wallowing in the mud and the men were running over him."

Wirt Harlin established Harlinsdale Farm in 1935, and over the next eleven years it gained renown in the fledgling Tennessee Walking Horse industry. The farm's landscaped grounds and handsome buildings attracted investors and helped the industry grow. This
Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action (map detail) image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
2. Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action (map detail)
was the home of Midnight Sun, the national champion Tennessee Walking Horse (1945-1946) and one of the breed's most famous sires.

(captions)
Captain Stephen D. Lee Courtesy Library of Congress
Cavalry battle Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. James H. Wilson Courtesy Library of Congress
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 17, 1864.
 
Location. 35° 56.185′ N, 86° 51.882′ W. Marker is in Franklin, Tennessee, in Williamson County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Franklin Road (Business U.S. 31) and Harpeth Industrial Court, on the right when traveling south. Located in the Park at Harlinsdale Farm, east of the big barn with the green roof, adjacent to the graves for Midnight Sun and Gen.'s Major General (horses). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 239 Franklin Road, Franklin TN 37064, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grave of Midnight Sun (here, next to this marker); The Main Barn (within shouting distance of this marker); The History of Harlinsdale Farms (within shouting distance
Retreat from Nashville Marker: General Stephen D. Lee image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
3. Retreat from Nashville Marker: General Stephen D. Lee
of this marker); The Working Farm (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jasmine Grove / Myles Manor Park (approx. ¼ mile away); Allen Manufacturing Company (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Truett House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rusty Mechanism (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Franklin.
 
Retreat from Nashville Marker: Cavalry Battle illustration image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
4. Retreat from Nashville Marker: Cavalry Battle illustration
Retreat from Nashville Marker: Gen. James H. Wilson image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
5. Retreat from Nashville Marker: Gen. James H. Wilson
Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action Marker in background, showing proximity to barn/graves. image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
6. Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action Marker in background, showing proximity to barn/graves.
Harlinsdale Farm Entrance (see white square horse sign for driveway) image. Click for full size.
June 4, 2020
7. Harlinsdale Farm Entrance (see white square horse sign for driveway)
Retreat from Nashville: Rearguard Action Marker can be found near the graves for notable horses near the big white barn.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2020. This page has been viewed 361 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 4, 2020.   3, 4, 5. submitted on June 5, 2020.   6, 7. submitted on June 4, 2020. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 23, 2024