The metro Atlanta region is no stranger to Civil War history. We literally live amid it, courtesy of the movements of Gen. William Sherman’s Union army and its battles with Gen. Joseph Johnston’s Confederate forces. In this 150th anniversary year, however, more attention is being paid to those events.
Just to our northwest in Franklin, Tennessee one of the most horrendous actions of that war took place on November 30, 1864. The Battle of Franklin will be remembered, but won’t be celebrated by anyone.
From the standpoint of casualties compared to the number of men involved, especially for the Southerns, it was by far the bloodiest affair of the war. Gen. John Bell Hood and his Confederate Army of Tennessee numbered 22,000 men at the start of the action.
But, after attacking Gen. John Schofield’s 23,000 entrenched Union troops, the rebel army number only 15,000. Among the more than 7,000 killed, wounded or captured were 13 generals (six killed, one captured and six wounded) along with 65 regimental commanders.
After Franklin, the Army of Tennessee was little more than an armed mob. They had lost the bulk of their veteran officer corps.
Today the town of Franklin offers a self-guided driving tour of the village’s history. Seven of the locations on the 26-stop tour are at sites pivotal to the battle.