Today is the 149th Anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and it is appropriate that I should remember this date on my blog, as it was the final battle of the Civil War for hundreds of Mississippians. I found the following article recently, and I think it sums up very well the importance that the survivors of the battle attached to the clash of arms that took place at Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864:
THE BATTLE OF FRANKLIN – THE BLOODIEST OF THE WAR
To the Editor of The Republic
St. Louis, Aug. 1 – I noticed in last Sunday’s Republic an article comparing the losses at Gettysburg with the charge of
the “Light Brigade” at Balaclava, showing that the former exceed the latter. I desire to call your attention to the greatest loss that was sustained in a given time in the Civil War. This was at the battle of Franklin, Tenn., November 30, 1864, where the Confederates, under the command of General Cockrell, now Senator of Missouri, were literally wiped out, and where General Walthall, with his Mississippians, never retreated, but died as near the last ditch as could be; where Generals Granberry and Strahl, with their Texans lying around, were found sitting up erect in death, with their swords in hand, as if they commanded the ghastly crew around them; where Pat Cleburne and his mare were pierced with 49 bullets; were Gist of South Carolina led his veterans, not to conquer, but to die.
At Gettysburg Lee had 75,000 men, of which number 3,500 were killed in three days’ fighting. At Franklin Hood had 20,000 men, of whom 1,750 were killed in two hours’ fighting. At Gettysburg there were no bloody bayonets, but at Franklin the Twelfth and Sixteenth Kentucky regiments and Updyke’s brigade of Illinois and Ohio boys had their bayonets literally covered with blood. The Missouri Union troops, namely, the Fifteenth, under the command of Colonel Conrades, and the Forty-fourth, under the command of Colonel Barr, a new one-year regiment, lost fearfully in the battle. The Fourty-forth Missouri, over _00 men, went into the battle. Next morning at roll call the regiment was composed 0f 365, officers and men. Thus the Americans, both Federal and Confederate, and the foreigners of the Fifteenth Missouri, a Swiss organization, showed that they could die for their country. Not since powder was invented has there been such a bloody battle (the battle of Borodino, on September 7, 1813, before Moscow, not excepted) as the battle of Franklin, on November 30, 1864.
In this battle were six Confederate Generals killed, six wounded, and one taken prisoner.
Frederick W. Fout
- St. Louis Republic, August 7, 1898
Frederick W. Fout was well qualified to speak on the ferocity of the Battle of Franklin; a veteran of over a dozen major battles, he was the recipient of a Medal of Honor for his gallantry at Harper’s Ferry in 1862 . His unit, the 15th Independent Battery, Indiana Light Artillery, was posted on the high ground near Fort Granger, overlooking the battlefield. From this spot Fout had a ringside seat to watch one of the bloodiest engagements of the Western theater.
By the time of the Battle of Franklin, Mississippi General Edward C. Walthall had moved up to division command, and
his former brigade, made up of the 24th, 27th, 29th, 30th, and 34th Mississippi regiments, was being led by General William F. Brantley. From his battery’s position, Fout would probably have been able to witness the Mississippian’s attack on the Union left flank, and seen the terrible casualties inflicted on the Confederates. Brantley’s brigade had 76 men killed, 140 wounded, and 21 missing in the Battle of Franklin.