Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Battle of Franklin, pt. 1

So, the Professor and I had been weighing whether it would be more fun to go to the reenactment of the Battle of Franklin or to the Moon Festival on campus. After short deliberation and a check with Madams J & B, we decided that there's only one 140th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin and so we'd better go down and be a part of it. First, though, I convinced the Professor to come with Mrs. Wigglebottom and me to the park and then to have some lunch in our fine, if messy, home. I had a hamburger; the Professor had corn dogs. Mrs. Wigglebottom was happily worn out from the park, so she just had a piece of ice, which she broke in two and set beside her for later (poor Mrs. Wigglebottom and her poor grasp of basic physics!). The battle was just one of three major battles being held in an enormous field just south of Spring Hill. Friday night had been the Battle of Spring Hill (which, you history buffs know, ended rather abruptly when the Union forces marched by the Confederate forces in the middle of the night and snuck north to Franklin), Saturday was the Battle of Franklin, and today is the Battle of Nashville. Since both Franklin's and Nashville's battlefields are under 140 years worth of urban sprawl, they hold all of the battles in the same field, part of the actual battlefield of the Battle of Spring Hill, just turning the forces in various ways so that the layout of the land varies a little from battle to battle. The movie at the Carter House in Franklin actually does a very nice job of explaining the intricacies behind these series of battles. In a nutshell, here's what's going on. In one of the strangest, to me, anyway, moments of the Civil War, Confederate General Hood had been fighting Union General Sherman in and around Atlanta. As Sherman marched out of Atlanta towards the Atlantic, Hood headed out of Atlanta in the other direction, intending to retake Nashville and regain some momentum. Though he hoped to somewhat surprise the Union forces as his men marched up the road to Nashville (what is now Route 31), he was engaged in Battle at Spring Hill, then at Franklin, before reaching Nashville. Though the Union forced retreated from both Spring Hill and Franklin, the damage they were able to do to the Confederate forces (six Confederate Generals were killed at Franklin), made it impossible for Hood's forces to recapture (or liberate, depending on your point of view) Nashville.


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