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

Battle of Franklin

The Landscape Shapes the Battle

 
 
Battle of Franklin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Stahl
1. Battle of Franklin Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, topography played a major role in shaping events. The Battle of Franklin was a prime example.

When Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood’s 20,000 men charged across these fields, the steep hills to their left and the angling Harpeth River on their right created an ever-narrowing path of advance. At first, Hood’s Army of Tennessee was stretched for more than two miles west to east. But as the men charged, the landscape compressed them to a width of less than a mile, forcing many regiments into an overlapping, tangled mess just as they hit the well-entrenched Federal defenses.

Making matters worse, the Confederates had to march across two miles of open ground, moving slightly uphill the entire way, over an area that provided virtually no natural cover. As one Union officer observed: “Very few battlefields of the war were so free from obstruction to the view”—and to the fire of Federal cannons.

Ironically, the battle itself took place largely because of the Harpeth River. Union commander Gen. John M. Schofield did not want to fight here but planned instead to reach the safety of fortifications in Nashville. With no usable bridges in place at the time of his arrival, however, Schofield ordered his troops to prepare for a possible attack. Fortunately for his men, the Harpeth
Battle of Franklin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Stahl
2. Battle of Franklin Marker
curved around them like a horseshoe, giving the Federals the advantage of interior lines with the flowing river guarding their flanks.
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 54.343′ N, 86° 51.529′ W. Marker is in Franklin, Tennessee, in Williamson County. Marker can be reached from Eastern Flank Circle 0.4 miles south of Lewsiburg Pike (Business U.S. 431), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1368 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin TN 37064, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank
Battlefield from Privet Knob image. Click for full size.
By US Army Center of Military History
3. Battlefield from Privet Knob
Battlefield from Privet Knob (one mile left), ca. 1880s photograph. The most famous assault of the Civil War was “Pickett’s Charge” on the last day of Gettysburg. But here at Franklin, Gen. Joh Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee marched across an area twice as wide and twice as far as did the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg, with almost twice as many men, and suffered more killed and wounded than were lost in Pickett’s Charge
(within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Standing at the Crossroads 1861 (about 300 feet away); Becoming the Front Line 1862 (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Franklin.
 
Also see . . .  Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. (Submitted on May 25, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Battle of Franklin Map image. Click for full size.
By Civil War Trust
4. Battle of Franklin Map
Battle of Franklin lithograph image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
5. Battle of Franklin lithograph
Battle of Franklin, postwar lithograph. Postwar artwork of the Battle of Franklin often showed exaggerated depictions of nearby hills and defenses. This may have been a result of the perceived impact of the landscape upon those who fought here, rather than the actual dimensions of the landmarks involved.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 25, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia. This page has been viewed 77 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 25, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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