War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0502 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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date. He had started on his great expedition from Atlanta to the sea-board, leaving me to guard Tennessee or to pursue the enemy if he followed the commanding general's column. It was therefore with considerable anxiety that we watched the force at Florence to discover what course they would pursue with regard to General Sherman's movements, determining thereby whether the troops under my command, numbering less than half those under Hood, were to act on the defensive in Tennessee or take the offensive in Alabama.

When the possibility of Hood following Sherman was over, General thomas took measures to act on the defensive. Re-enforcement of new regiments were hurried forward to him by the Governors of the Western States. All troops fit for any military duty were collected and sent forward from the hospitals, absentees on leave were called in, the employes in the quartermaster's department were armed and organized for duty in the intrenchments, and two divisions of veteran infantry, under command of General A. J. Smith, that had been serving of the Red River and afterward in Missouri, were pushed forward to General Thomas. By these mans his forces were speedily swelled, when concentrated, to an army nearly as large as that of the enemy. The public property and garrisons were drawn in from exposed positions and points not required to be held, the fortifications of Nashville were strengthened, and every preparation was made for a struggle of no ordinary magnitude. Hood advanced to Columbia, where his attempt to cross Duck Creek was checked for a while by General Schofield, who repulsed the enemy many times with heavy loss. Schofield's main force in front of Columbia was withdrawn on the night of the 29th of November and a position taken at Franklin on the morning of the 30th. Here took place one of the most fierce and bloody battles of the war. "The enemy," says General Thomas in his report, "followed closely after General Schofield's rear guard in the retreat to Franklin, and upon coming up with the main force, formed rapidly and advanced to assault our works, repeating attack after attack during the entire afternoon, and as late as 10 p. m. his efforts to break chosen, with both flanks resting on the river, and his men firmly held their ground against an overwhelming enemy, who was repulsed in every assault along the whole line. Our loss, as given by General Schofield in his report,* transmitted herewith (and to which I respectfully refer), is 189 killed, 1,033 wounded, and 1,104 missing, making an aggregate of 2,326. We captured and sent to Nashville 702 prisoners, including 1 general officer and 33 stand of colors. Mamanding Fourth Corps, was severely wounded at Franklin while engaged in rallying a portion of his command which had been temporarily overpowered by an overwhelming attack of the enemy. At the time of the battle the enemy's loss was known to be severe, and was estimated at 5,000. The exact figures were only obtained, however, on the reoccupation of Franklin by our forces, after the battles of December 15 and 16 at Brentwood Hills, near Nashville, and are given as follows: Buried upon the field, 1,750; disabled and placed in hospital at Franklin, 3,800, which, with the 702 prisoners already reported, makes an aggregate loss of 6,252, among whom were 6 general officers killed, 6 wounded, and 1 captured. The important results of this signal victory cannot be too highly appreciated, for it not only seriously checked the enemy's advance, and gave General Schofield time to remove his troops and all his property to Nashville, but is also caused deep depression among the men of Hood's army, making them doubly cautious in their subsequent movements."


*See Series I, Vol. XLV, Part I, p. 339.