— Hood's Campaign —
(Preface): In September 1864, after Union Gen. William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood at Atlanta, Hood let the Army of Tennessee northwest against Sherman's supply lines. Rather than contest Sherman's "March to the Sea," Hood moved north into Tennessee. Gen. John M. Schofield, detached from Sherman's army, delayed Hood at Columbia and Spring Hill before falling back to Franklin.The bloodbath here on November 30 crippled the Confederates, but they followed Schofield to the outskirts of Nashville and Union Gen. George H. Thomas's strong defenses. Hood's campaign ended when Thomas crushed his army on December 15-16.
Close by stood Fountain B. Carter's cotton gin, near which the 104th Ohio Infantry and other Federal units entrenched early on the morning of November 30, 1864. At 4:00 that afternoon, across the open fields behind you, and about 19,000 Confederate soldiers deployed and advanced. This spot, in the heart of the defensive line, was the target of Confederate Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's division, which included battle-hardened veterans from Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.
Cleburne's division hurled itself repeatedly against this position, which formed a crucial salient in the Federal line near the Columbia Turnpike, a few dozen yards to your left. Cleburne and his brigade commander Gen. Hiram B. Granbury were killed near here, as was Gen. John Adams. His horse was shot as it jumped the earthworks and lay dead with its head and forelegs over the parapet.
The Federal defense at the cotton gin was ferocious. "It seemed to me that hell itself had exploded in our faces," Confederate Gen. George W. Gordon wrote. An Illinois soldier observed, "I never saw men put in such a hellish position.
The wonder is that any of them escaped death or capture." Seven Union soldiers later received the Medal of Honor for acts of courage here: Capt. John H. Brown, 12 Kentucky Infantry, and Corp. Joseph Davis, Pvt. John Gaunt, Pvt. Abraham Greenawalt, Pvt. Newton H. Hall, Capt. George Van Stavoren Kelley, and Pvt. John H. Ricksecker, 104th Ohio Infantry.
(Sidebar): Harvey the War Dog
Many Union regiments went into battle with mascots. The 104th Ohio Infantry's Harvey left the state with the regiment late in the summer of 1862. He was wounded and captured near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, in June 1864, but was returned to the "Barking Dog Regiment," as it was known, under a flag of truce. During the Battle of Franklin, he was with Co. F near the cotton gin. Harvey survived the war, and his collar is on display at the Carter House.
Patrick R. Cleburne (1828-1864), a native of Ireland, immigrated to America in 1849 after service in the British army, A pharmacist by education, he became a partner in a drug-store in Helena, Ark., then an attorney. He enlisted in the 15th Arkansas Infantry in 1861, was elected captain, and then rose to command a brigade. He became a Confederate hero for his leadership at Shiloh and then at Richmond, Ky., where he was wounded. Cleburne died leading his division at Franklin, Tenn., on Nov. 30, 1864.