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Controversies & Questions: The Battle of Franklin

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  • Brett Schulte
    Guys, I ve been doing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson s Spring Hill and Franklin book _for Cause and for Country_, and I ve finally come to the Battle
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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      Guys,

      I've been doing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson's Spring Hill
      and Franklin book _for Cause and for Country_, and I've finally come
      to the Battle of Franklin. After summarizing Eric's take on the
      battle, I chose 14 topics concerning Franklin and attempted to compare
      and contrast Eric's views with those of Wiley Sword, who as most of
      you know is the author of _The Confederacy's Last Hurrah_. The blog
      article is lengthy, so I didn't want to just throw it out on the
      group. Instead, I've posted the 14 points below, and the answers can
      be found in the blog entry at:

      http://brettschulte.net/ACWBlog/archives/books_now_reading/for_cause_and_for_country_a_study_o_8.html

      I'd love to hear from anyone interested in the battle, whether you
      agree or disagree with my own take.

      1. Why didn't Hood order up Lee's Corps and the artillery sooner? Did
      Lee's absence affect the eventual outcome?

      2. Was a flanking move by Forrest (instead of a frontal attack)
      likely to succeed or even possible?

      3. Did an angry John Bell Hood "punish" Cheatham, Cleburne, and their
      men for their supposed failings when attacking breastworks?

      4. If he didn't punish his men, why DID Hood attack?

      5. Why did Wagner decide to stay in an advanced position despite
      overwhelming odds?

      6. Why did the Carter family remain in their house on the front lines?

      7. Who broke first, Conrad or Lane?

      8. Cockrell's Brigade or Sears': Who attacked first in French's Division?

      9. Featherston's Brigade took massive casualties in a railroad cut
      from enfilading artillery fire. Was there any way to avoid this?

      10. How do both authors describe the death of Cleburne?

      11. Opdycke suggested after the war that he beat CONFEDERATE soldiers
      over the head with a pistol, rather than just his own Union
      stragglers. Was he telling the truth?

      12. David Stanley received a painful wound across the back of his neck
      during the fight. First, did Jacob Cox suggest that Stanley leave the
      field to get his wound dressed? Second, did Stanley really leave the
      field? Third, did Stanley deserve a Medal of Honor for his role in
      the Battle of Franklin?

      13. John Adams and his brigade were being slaughtered as they
      attempted to cross the Osage orange barrier. Adams suddenly spurred
      his horse to the left, finding an opening in the trees. As he
      galloped toward the Union line both he and his horse were shot. Where
      did Adams and his horse fall? Within or without the Union lines?

      14. Patrick Dowling, inspector general of Moore's Brigade, gathered
      together available units including the 101st Ohio to save the 111th
      Ohio's left flank. How crucial was this move to the final outcome of
      the battle?

      Brett S.
    • Brett Schulte
      Guys, I ve been doing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson s Spring Hill and Franklin book _for Cause and for Country_, and I ve finally come to the Battle
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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        Guys,

        I've been doing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson's Spring Hill
        and Franklin book _for Cause and for Country_, and I've finally come
        to the Battle of Franklin. After summarizing Eric's take on the
        battle, I chose 14 topics concerning Franklin and attempted to compare
        and contrast Eric's views with those of Wiley Sword, who as most of
        you know is the author of _The Confederacy's Last Hurrah_. The blog
        article is lengthy, so I didn't want to just throw it out on the
        group. Instead, I've posted the 14 points below, and the answers can
        be found in the blog entry at:

        http://brettschulte.net/ACWBlog/archives/books_now_reading/for_cause_and_for_country_a_study_o_8.html

        I'd love to hear from anyone interested in the battle, whether you
        agree or disagree with my own take.

        1. Why didn't Hood order up Lee's Corps and the artillery sooner? Did
        Lee's absence affect the eventual outcome?

        2. Was a flanking move by Forrest (instead of a frontal attack)
        likely to succeed or even possible?

        3. Did an angry John Bell Hood "punish" Cheatham, Cleburne, and their
        men for their supposed failings when attacking breastworks?

        4. If he didn't punish his men, why DID Hood attack?

        5. Why did Wagner decide to stay in an advanced position despite
        overwhelming odds?

        6. Why did the Carter family remain in their house on the front lines?

        7. Who broke first, Conrad or Lane?

        8. Cockrell's Brigade or Sears': Who attacked first in French's Division?

        9. Featherston's Brigade took massive casualties in a railroad cut
        from enfilading artillery fire. Was there any way to avoid this?

        10. How do both authors describe the death of Cleburne?

        11. Opdycke suggested after the war that he beat CONFEDERATE soldiers
        over the head with a pistol, rather than just his own Union
        stragglers. Was he telling the truth?

        12. David Stanley received a painful wound across the back of his neck
        during the fight. First, did Jacob Cox suggest that Stanley leave the
        field to get his wound dressed? Second, did Stanley really leave the
        field? Third, did Stanley deserve a Medal of Honor for his role in
        the Battle of Franklin?

        13. John Adams and his brigade were being slaughtered as they
        attempted to cross the Osage orange barrier. Adams suddenly spurred
        his horse to the left, finding an opening in the trees. As he
        galloped toward the Union line both he and his horse were shot. Where
        did Adams and his horse fall? Within or without the Union lines?

        14. Patrick Dowling, inspector general of Moore's Brigade, gathered
        together available units including the 101st Ohio to save the 111th
        Ohio's left flank. How crucial was this move to the final outcome of
        the battle?

        Brett S.
      • Harry Smeltzer
        Fun stuff. I have Stanley s memoir here, and can tell you he had not much nice to say about the character of Wood, Cox, or Opdycke, essentially saying they
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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          Fun stuff.  I have Stanley’s memoir here, and can tell you he had not much nice to say about the character of Wood, Cox, or Opdycke, essentially saying they were all three bald faced liars – Cox especially so.

          Harry

           

          -----Original Message-----
          From: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Brett Schulte
          Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:45 AM
          To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [civilwarwest] Controversies & Questions: The Battle of Franklin

           

          Guys,

          I've been doing a multi-part blog entry on Eric Jacobson's Spring Hill
          and Franklin book _for Cause and for Country_, and I've finally come
          to the Battle of Franklin. After summarizing Eric's take on the
          battle, I chose 14 topics concerning Franklin and attempted to compare
          and contrast Eric's views with those of Wiley Sword, who as most of
          you know is the author of _The Confederacy' s Last Hurrah_. The blog
          article is lengthy, so I didn't want to just throw it out on the
          group. Instead, I've posted the 14 points below, and the answers can
          be found in the blog entry at:

          http://brettschulte .net/ACWBlog/ archives/ books_now_ reading/for_ cause_and_ for_country_ a_study_o_ 8.html

          I'd love to hear from anyone interested in the battle, whether you
          agree or disagree with my own take.

          1. Why didn't Hood order up Lee's Corps and the artillery sooner? Did
          Lee's absence affect the eventual outcome?

          2. Was a flanking move by Forrest (instead of a frontal attack)
          likely to succeed or even possible?

          3. Did an angry John Bell Hood "punish" Cheatham, Cleburne, and their
          men for their supposed failings when attacking breastworks?

          4. If he didn't punish his men, why DID Hood attack?

          5. Why did Wagner decide to stay in an advanced position despite
          overwhelming odds?

          6. Why did the Carter family remain in their house on the front lines?

          7. Who broke first, Conrad or Lane?

          8. Cockrell's Brigade or Sears': Who attacked first in French's Division?

          9. Featherston' s Brigade took massive casualties in a railroad cut
          from enfilading artillery fire. Was there any way to avoid this?

          10. How do both authors describe the death of Cleburne?

          11. Opdycke suggested after the war that he beat CONFEDERATE soldiers
          over the head with a pistol, rather than just his own Union
          stragglers. Was he telling the truth?

          12. David Stanley received a painful wound across the back of his neck
          during the fight. First, did Jacob Cox suggest that Stanley leave the
          field to get his wound dressed? Second, did Stanley really leave the
          field? Third, did Stanley deserve a Medal of Honor for his role in
          the Battle of Franklin?

          13. John Adams and his brigade were being slaughtered as they
          attempted to cross the Osage orange barrier. Adams suddenly spurred
          his horse to the left, finding an opening in the trees. As he
          galloped toward the Union line both he and his horse were shot. Where
          did Adams and his horse fall? Within or without the Union lines?

          14. Patrick Dowling, inspector general of Moore's Brigade, gathered
          together available units including the 101st Ohio to save the 111th
          Ohio's left flank. How crucial was this move to the final outcome of
          the battle?

          Brett S.

        • Brett Schulte
          Harry, I suspected as much regarding Stanley s opinion of Cox. I m wondering who is telling the truth between Cox and Wagner over Wagner s decision to stay in
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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            Harry,

            I suspected as much regarding Stanley's opinion of Cox. I'm wondering
            who is telling the truth between Cox and Wagner over Wagner's decision
            to stay in advance of the main works. Oh to be a fly on the wall that
            day!

            Once I manage to pick up some of these other sources (which this
            little exercise has made me eager to do, BTW), I hope to expand some
            of these 14 points into their own blog entries.

            Brett

            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@...> wrote:
            >
            > Fun stuff. I have Stanley's memoir here, and can tell you he had
            not much
            > nice to say about the character of Wood, Cox, or Opdycke,
            essentially saying
            > they were all three bald faced liars - Cox especially so.
            >
            > Harry
            >
            >
            >
          • SDE80@aol.com
            In a message dated 9/14/2006 8:49:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, brett@brettschulte.net writes: Brett, I will hazard a few comments. I d love to hear from anyone
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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              In a message dated 9/14/2006 8:49:54 AM Eastern Standard Time, brett@... writes:
               
              Brett, I will hazard a few comments.
              I'd love to hear from anyone interested in the battle, whether you
              agree or disagree with my own take.

              1. Why didn't Hood order up Lee's Corps and the artillery sooner?  Did
              Lee's absence affect the eventual outcome?
               
              Lack of time.   Lee's Corps was left behind at Columbia when Stewart and Cheatham marched with Hood to Spring Hill.   It was simply the last corps in line, and Hood barely had the time to get the other two deployed and attack before dark.

              2. Was a flanking move  by Forrest (instead of a frontal attack)
              likely to succeed or even possible?
               
              Possible, yes, in the sense that horse moved faster and at that point Wilson and the US cav. were spooked.   Likely to succeed?  Depends on what one's view of success was in that scenario.  Cutting off Schofield's retreat toward Nashville?  Doubtful. 

              3. Did an angry John Bell Hood "punish" Cheatham, Cleburne, and their
              men for their supposed failings when attacking breastworks?
               
              No.

              4. If he didn't punish his men, why DID Hood attack?
               
              He felt he had to defeat Schofield before he joined with Thomas.  He had a report that Schofield was crossing the Harpeth and hoped to catch him while crossing.


              5. Why did Wagner decide to stay in an advanced position despite
              overwhelming odds?
               
              Stupidity? 

              6. Why did the Carter family remain in their house on the front lines?
               
              Stupidity?

              8. Cockrell's Brigade or Sears': Who attacked first in French's Division?
               
              Sears was in front.  Hard to say they did not.  Cockrell was the westernmost of Stewart's brigades to attack, and was originally in the second line of French's advance. 

              9. Featherston's Brigade took massive casualties in a railroad cut
              from enfilading artillery fire.  Was there any way to avoid this?
               
              As it advanced, Stewart's Corps was funneled into a decreasing space by the banks of the Harpeth and the overlap of Cheatham's advance.  There wasn't much room for it to be able to avoid the RR cut.


              13. John Adams and his brigade were being slaughtered as they
              attempted to cross the Osage orange barrier.  Adams suddenly spurred
              his horse to the left, finding an opening in the trees.  As he
              galloped toward the Union line both he and his horse were shot.  Where
              did Adams and his horse fall?  Within or without the Union lines?

              IIRC, Adams' horse fell straddling the US line, and Adams fell into Federal lines, where he subsequently died.  Casement's brigade, wasn't it?
               
              Sam Elliott
            • Brett Schulte
              Sam, That s a pretty much excellent response, especially if you didn t read my blog entry. I agree with pretty much everything you said, with just one or two
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 14, 2006
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                Sam,

                That's a pretty much excellent response, especially if you didn't read
                my blog entry. I agree with pretty much everything you said, with
                just one or two exceptions. Altohugh I laughed at both of your
                "Stupidity?" answers, I'm not sure this was the case in either, though
                I can't argue too much in Wagner's case. The Carter family seems to
                have asked if they should flee, but Cox mentioned that a battle was
                not likely and that if he moved his HQ, the house would in all
                likelihood be ransacked. Considering Cox and Stanley were surprised
                by the Confederate attack, it is not surprising that the extended
                Carter family and some neighbors (around two dozen in all) did not
                have time to get out of Dodge, so to speak.

                I was also interested in your Sears over Cockrell answer. I'll be
                honest. Sword's account is a little confusing to me, but the relevant
                map definitely shows Sears as having attacked first. Sword didn't
                give me any reason why Sears might be first and Jacobson did tell me
                why Cockrell might have snuck in front. I might have to expand that
                questin out into a lengthier blog entry at some point in the future.

                Lastly, Eric Jacobosn's research and all of Jack Casement's comments
                (you were right about it being Casment's Brigade) seem to indicate
                that Adams' horse did make the breastworks, but that Adams himself
                fell somewhere outside of those breastworks.

                I think I should have done something like this for Spring Hill. That
                day was twice as confusing and controversial as Franklin!

                Brett

                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, SDE80@... wrote:
                >
                > In a message dated 9/14/2006 8:49:54 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                > brett@... writes:
                >
                > Brett, I will hazard a few comments.
                > I'd love to hear from anyone interested in the battle, whether you
                > agree or disagree with my own take.
                >
                > 1. Why didn't Hood order up Lee's Corps and the artillery sooner? Did
                > Lee's absence affect the eventual outcome?
                >
                > Lack of time. Lee's Corps was left behind at Columbia when Stewart
                and
                > Cheatham marched with Hood to Spring Hill. It was simply the last
                corps in line,
                > and Hood barely had the time to get the other two deployed and
                attack before
                > dark.
                >
                > 2. Was a flanking move by Forrest (instead of a frontal attack)
                > likely to succeed or even possible?
                >
                > Possible, yes, in the sense that horse moved faster and at that
                point Wilson
                > and the US cav. were spooked. Likely to succeed? Depends on what
                one's view
                > of success was in that scenario. Cutting off Schofield's retreat
                toward
                > Nashville? Doubtful.
                >
                > 3. Did an angry John Bell Hood "punish" Cheatham, Cleburne, and their
                > men for their supposed failings when attacking breastworks?
                >
                > No.
                >
                > 4. If he didn't punish his men, why DID Hood attack?
                >
                > He felt he had to defeat Schofield before he joined with Thomas. He
                had a
                > report that Schofield was crossing the Harpeth and hoped to catch
                him while
                > crossing.
                >
                >
                > 5. Why did Wagner decide to stay in an advanced position despite
                > overwhelming odds?
                >
                > Stupidity?
                >
                > 6. Why did the Carter family remain in their house on the front lines?
                >
                > Stupidity?
                >
                > 8. Cockrell's Brigade or Sears': Who attacked first in French's
                Division?
                >
                > Sears was in front. Hard to say they did not. Cockrell was the
                westernmost
                > of Stewart's brigades to attack, and was originally in the second
                line of
                > French's advance.
                >
                > 9. Featherston's Brigade took massive casualties in a railroad cut
                > from enfilading artillery fire. Was there any way to avoid this?
                >
                > As it advanced, Stewart's Corps was funneled into a decreasing space
                by the
                > banks of the Harpeth and the overlap of Cheatham's advance. There
                wasn't much
                > room for it to be able to avoid the RR cut.
                >
                >
                > 13. John Adams and his brigade were being slaughtered as they
                > attempted to cross the Osage orange barrier. Adams suddenly spurred
                > his horse to the left, finding an opening in the trees. As he
                > galloped toward the Union line both he and his horse were shot. Where
                > did Adams and his horse fall? Within or without the Union lines?
                >
                > IIRC, Adams' horse fell straddling the US line, and Adams fell into
                Federal
                > lines, where he subsequently died. Casement's brigade, wasn't it?
                >
                > Sam Elliott
                >
              • SDE80@aol.com
                In a message dated 9/15/2006 12:50:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... Thanks for you kind comments. I want to read your blog when I have a little more time, and
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 15, 2006
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                  In a message dated 9/15/2006 12:50:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time, brett@... writes:

                  I was also interested in your Sears over Cockrell answer.  I'll be
                  honest.  Sword's account is a little confusing to me, but the relevant
                  map definitely shows Sears as having attacked first.  Sword didn't
                  give me any reason why Sears might be first and Jacobson did tell me
                  why Cockrell might have snuck in front.  I might have to expand that
                  questin out into a lengthier blog entry at some point in the future.


                  Thanks for you kind comments.  I want to read your blog when I have a little more time, and I would be interested in seeing Mr. Jacobson's book sometime. 

                  As far as the Sears/Cockrell deal, not only was Cockrell in the second line of French's advance, but it sort of looped to the west, or left, and attacked over ground previously covered by Cleburne, if I'm not mistaken.  In that case, it is hard to imagine it being engaged before Sears' Brigade.

                  Sam Elliott
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