Franklin, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Battle of Franklin
“Jumping out of bed”
Union gunboats ranged up the Blackwater River in May and August in search of Confederates and military supplies but returned downstream empty-handed. Confederate authorities dispatched a brigade under Col. James K. Marshall of the 52nd North Carolina Infantry to defend Franklin. When Union Gen. John J. Peck, commanding the occupation of Suffolk, learned that Confederate troops were massing along the Blackwater River, he organized a joint army-navy expedition to converge on Franklin. Col. Samuel P. Spear marched from Suffolk with 1,300 infantrymen while Lt. Cmdr. Charles W. Flusser’s three-gunboat flotilla (USS Commodore Perry, Hunchback, and Whitehead - ferryboats
At dawn on October 3, as Flusser’s squadron approached Franklin at Crumpler’s Bluff downstream behind you, it encountered Confederate sharpshooters including civilians and African Americans. The gunboats shelled the riverbanks as they steamed past, but stopped beyond the bluff, where felled trees obstructed the narrow river. Meanwhile, Confederate infantrymen countered Spear’s advance. When Spear did not arrive as scheduled, Flusser shelled the town and then retreated downstream amid a hail of rifle fire. Franklin had experienced its first taste of warfare.
“The first time the Federal gunboats came up the river and bombarded our tittle town. …the shells [fell] all around our house. Your grandmother and four of the brothers were in bed with the measles. …If you ever had measles, you know how bad it makes you feel. You think that you are going to die right away, but when those shells began to fall around the house, there was some jumping out of bed and running. …That was one of the most disagreeable happenings.”
- Jenny Camp Norfleet
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil Virginia Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 36° 40.458′ N, 76° 55.163′ W. Marker is in Franklin, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and South Street, on the left when traveling south on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Franklin VA 23851, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Blackwater Line (here, next to this marker); Confederate Commissary Center (a few steps from this marker); The Barretts: A Franklin Pioneer Family (a few steps from this marker); The Age of Steam (a few steps from this marker); War Comes to the Blackwater (a few steps from this marker); "Can't Is Not in the Camp's Vocabulary" (within shouting distance of this marker); The Age of Gasoline (within shouting distance of this marker); Recovery and Progress (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Franklin.
More about this marker. On the upper center is a period photo of the “USS Commodore Perry and a monitor, photographed on the James River.” – Courtesy Library of Congress
On the upper right is a portrait of Jenny Camp Norfleet
Also see . . . Civil War Traveler - Tidewater Virginia - More Sites. Franklin area. Battle of Franklin and Franklin During the War. (Submitted on May 18, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 30, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 20, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,999 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 20, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 2, 3. submitted on November 13, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 4. submitted on April 20, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.