I am also a student of the battle at Franklin. It is an absolutely horrible
event, but one which is symbolic not only of the current state of the war, but
also of things to come in the South. Many historians equate the charge at
Gettysburg on the 3rd day as representing the "high tide" of the Confederacy,
the culmination of 2 1/2 years of fighting. It represented the potential (no
matter how far-fetched) for victory. On the other side of the coin, the charge
at Franklin, while representing the desperation of the Confederacy at that stage
in the war, also symbolized where the war was going and what lay in store for
the Confederacy. In short, I like to think of it as a mountain, the peak being
the Confederate high water mark (we'll say for now that Gettysburg represents
this point). The 3rd day's attack lies just on the upslope, near the peak, and
the potential may still exist to not have a down slope at all! The ill-fated
attack at Franklin, however, is far down on the downward slope of the war, when
there is little chance to make it back to that pinnacle. Even the position of
the sun can be looked to for a little symbolism. Launching the Gettysburg
charge at 3pm, the sun was still high in the sky, with plenty of daylight
remaining. The charge at Franklin was made near dusk as the sun was low in the
sky, with little light remaining. Some eyewitness accounts testify to the
blood-red hue of the sun on that day. Very interesting....
The moods of the soldiers making the respective charges is also polar. The
troops embarking from Seminary Ridge on July 3rd may not necessarily have been
jubilant, but they were certainly hopeful not only of immediate victory, but of
ultimate victory. Hood's troops at Franklin, however, saw the ultimate outcome
of their attack as failure, both in the short and long terms. To me, the attack
at Franklin is so much more difficult to bear because of this fact, that these
men launched this attack knowing that both their lives and their cause would
fall in this battle. And yet, they made it and at times gained commendable
short term success. In my opinion, that is what makes this attack at Franklin
both so tragic and so valiant.
All just my humble opinions and ramblings....
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