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or his great venture. At length, a lispatch from Sherman” apprised Thomas that the former had cut Oose from his base and started southward from Atlanta on his Great March ; and no sooner had the tidngs reached Hood, still at Florence, Ala., where he had a pontoon bridge, with part of his force on either side f the river, than the crossing of his emaining corps commenced;” while is van, already over, moved through Waynesboro’ and Lawrenceburg on Washville.” Hood's army was organized in three orps, under Maj.-Gen. B. F. Cheatam, Lt.-Gens. A. P. Stewart and S. ). Lee, beside his strong cavalry corps nder Forrest. Each corps was comosed of three divisions: Maj.-Gens. leburne, Loring, Bate, E. Johnson, nd Buford, being the best known of heir commanders. Thomas had but ve divisions of infantry at the front; ut he had collected several more beore the struggle was brought to a nal issue. Gen. Schofield, at Pulaski, now ll back, by order, on Columbia; here his corps was concentrated,” was most of Stanley's; while Gen. ranger withdrew the garrisons from thens (Ala.), Decatur, and Huntslle, retiring on Stevenson. The rce left at Johnsonville now evacuatthat post, withdrawing to Clarkslle. When the enemy appeared fore Columbia, declining to assault, it evincing a purpose to cross Duck. rer above or below, Gen. Schofield thdrew " across that stream; and learning that the Rebels had crosssix miles above, directed Gen.
Stanley to follow his trains to Spring Hill; where he arrived justintimeto save them from Forrest's cavalry, which was close upon them, but | which he drove off; being assailed, soon afterward, by a much stronger force, including infantry, with which he fought till dark; barely hôlding the road whereby Schofield must make good his retreat. Schofield, with Ruger's division, had been kept awake all day by the enemy's efforts to cross Duck riveral Columbia; repulsing, with heavylos to them, their repeated attempts to do so. When night fell, he resumed his movement; brushing aside the Rebel cavalry who infested the road, and finding at Spring Hill the enemy bivouacking within half a mile of his line of retreat. He did not choose to have any difficulty with them just then; but pushed on with his entire command; and, after fighting all day and marching 25 miles during the following night, he got into position at FRANKLIN early on the 30th. His cavalry moving on the Lewisburg’ pike, several miles eastward, had encountered no enemy. Time being absolutely required to save our trains, which choked the road for many miles, Schofield halted on the southern verge of the village, threw up * slight breastwork, and proposed to stop, while his train should be got over the Harpeth and fairly on its way to Nashville. franklin is situated in a bend of the Harpeth, which here rudely describes the north and east sides of * square, which was completed by our lines of defense. These were held
* Dated Cartersville, Ga., Nov. 12.
advance a week or ten days longer, I would
by two divisions of his own and all three of the 4th (Stanley's) corps—the whole reported at 17,000, and certainly not much exceeding that number. As the ground rises from the stream, the position was of little worth, save as its flanks were protected by the river." IIood's army, arriving later, was not ready for the onset till 4 P. M.; when, at the word of command, the charging lines swept on. Hood had delayed the attack till all his forces could be brought up; intending to crush in our front at the first onset by the sheer weight of his assault. Stewart's corps was on his right, next the IIarpeth; Cheatham's
on his left, reaching westward to the angle of our defenses; Lee in reserve behind them ; though Johnson's division of Lee's corps was thrown to the left during the engagement; the cavalry was on both flanks; Forrest, with most of it, on the right. “Break those lines,” shouted IIood to his men, “and there is nothing more to withstand you this side of the Ohio river!” Many Tennesseeans were now for the first time in weary months within sight of their homes; one General (Carter) fell mortally wounded within a few rods of his own house. Gen. Schofield watched the progress of the battle from Fort Granger, across the IIarpeth. Though Schofield's command numbered nearly if not quite 20,000 men, a good part of it was already across the river, guarding the trains and our left flank, while two divisions held the lines guarding our right; so that all the force directly confronting the Rebel advance hardly numbered 10,000. Of these, two brigades of the 2d (Wagner's) division of the 4th (Stanley's) corps were thrown out in our front, holding some slight works a few hundred yards in advance of our general line; the key of which was Carter's hill, a gentle eminence, across which ran the Columbia pike through Franklin to Nashville. Behind that hillstood the 1st (Opdycke's) brigade of Wood's 2d division in reserve. The Rebel charge was so imetuous, as well as so heavy, that it was scarcely checked by the adanced works held too long by the two rigades aforesaid, but swept over hem like a torrent, hurling back our len in tumultuous rout, taking many prisoners, and driving the redue right through the center of our main line, which not merely opened receive them, but kept widening fter they had rushed past. In an lstant, the wings next that pike of he 2d and 3d divisions of the 23d Cox's) corps recoiled before the nemy’s charge; the hill was lost, 8 four guns taken, and the Rebel flag lanted in triumph on our breastworks, as the exulting victors, having assed over them, hastily formed on he inside, intending to follow up their riumph. Caissons as well as men treamed wildly to the bridges, suposing the day utterly lost and nohing left to do but save from the reck as much as possible. “First brigade 1 forward to the forks '' rang out the steady voice of )pdycke, as the rabble rout swept y; he riding rapidly forward as the ayonets of his men came down to a harge, flashing back the rays of the atting sun. Swiftly, steadily, grando, that brigade rushed upon the foe: brief but bloody struggle ensued; nd at its close no Rebel remained pon or inside of the works but the ead and wounded, with 300 prisonrs. Our guns were recovered; 10 !ebel battle-flags taken; our line as restored, and Opdycke's headuarters established here on the pike;
* Gen. Hood, in a personal reminiscence of this conflict, fairly said:
“The works of the enemy were so hastily constructed that, while he had a slight abatis in front of a part of his line, there was none on his extreme right.”
Yet, slight as they were, these defenses were of incalculable value. A veteran who fought
behind them said, “Such a line at the Chickamauga would have given us a victory.” T is sad that, after all we have spent on West Point, we should have had to learn this simple lesson at a cost of 200,000 lives and Two Billions of money: The Turks had mastered it when they last defended Silistria against the Russians, years ago.
* An official recommendation to promotion, dorsed by Gen. Thomas, thus testifies:
“At the battle of Franklin, Opdycke [formerly bl. 125th Ohio] displayed the very highest |alities as a commander. It is not saying too uch to declare that, but for the skillful disisitions made by Gen. Opdycke (all of which
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of a full sixth, not of its numbers, but of its effective force—a loss which it had no means of replacing.
Hitherto, Thomas had resisted very considerable odds; but, when Hood sat down" before Nashville, the case was bravely altered. The Rebel army had by this time been reduced, by the casualties and hardships of an offensive and unseasonable campaign, to 40,000 at most; A. J. Smith's command, transported from Missouri on steamboats, had just arrived,” and been posted on our right; while Gen. Steedman, with 5,000 of Sherman's men and a Black brigade, had come up by rail from Chattanooga. Add the garrison of Nashville, and a division organized from the employés of the quartermaster's, commissary's, and railroad departments, now working diligently on the defenses, and it was clear that Thomas's infantry outnumbered that which affected to besiege him, in a city which had already been extensively fortified. Still, he was so deficient in cavalry that he paused to mount a few thousand men before challenging the enemy to a decisive conflict. This perplexed Gen. Grant; who, chafing at the idea of such a display of Rebel audacity in the heart of Tennessee, had left his camp on the James and reached Washington on his way westward, when he was met by telegraphic reports which convinced him that his Tennessee lieutenant, like Sheridan, needed no supervision.
Thomas, reluctant to relax his hold on the railroad to Chattanooga, had left Gen. Rousseau, with 8,000 men, in Fortress Rosecrans, at Murfreesboro’: the railroad being further de
* Dec. 2.
* Nov. 30–Dec. l.