Front:In memory of Calvin E. Bohnke a friend of Save the Franklin Battlefield, Inc.
On July 5, 1819, The Williamson County Court authorized "building of a bridge across the Harpeth at the town of Franklin." The bridge was a large, enclosed, double covered bridge having a partition along its middle course, with two open windows on each side. For the next 42 years, the bridge linked Franklin to residents north and to the city of Nashville. When the Civil War came to Middle Tennessee in early 1862, Confederate soldiers streaming south following the fall of Fort Donelson crossed the Bridge (sic). A little later, Gen Don Carlos Buell's 20,000 troops marched across on their way to the battle of Shiloh. Late in 1862, just before the Federal army came into Franklin to occupy the town and build Fort Granger, Confederate Cavalry (sic) burned the bridge. During the Federal occupation, the soldiers used a pontoon bridge and another temporary bridge built on piles.
On Nov 30, 1864, the remains of the demolished Harpeth River bridge and a burned temporary bridge blocked Gen John Schofield's Federal army, forcing him to order planks laid across the railroad bridge and to build another bridge just a few inches above the water on the piles from the burned temporary bridge. The Federal Army then moved towards Nashville across these two bridges. During the Dec (sic) 1864 retreat
from the Battle of Nashville, Confederate troops forded the river near the empty bridge abutments trying to escape the fire from pursuing Federals. The frenzied push of these men trampled at least one soldier into the mud. While the troops were struggling to cross the river, Bledsoe's Confederate Artillery battery was posted along 1st Ave., near the old bridge entrance ramp, firing into the advancing Federal cavalry.
Williamson County Historical Society 2011