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You can learn about the Battle of Franklin

From staff reports • Oct 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM

It was a missed opportunity in late November 1864 that led to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

On Monday night, you can explore that missed opportunity and the battle that followed as the Tri-Cities Civil War Round Table will present “For Cause and For Country: A study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin” featuring guest speaker Eric A. Jacobson, chief executive officer of the Battle of Franklin Trust.

Jacobson has been studying the American Civil War for nearly three decades. He is the author of “For Cause and For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin,” a project which encompassed almost 10 years. The book was published in March 2006 and is considered by some to be one of the most important books ever written about the 1864 Tennessee Campaign.

Jacobson has worked with preservation organizations such as the Civil War Trust, Franklin’s Charge, the American Battlefield Protection Program, the National Park Service and Save The Franklin Battlefield for more than a decade to reclaim and preserve important sections of the Spring Hill and Franklin battlefields. He was also one of the driving forces behind the installation of dozens of Civil War Trails markers across Middle Tennessee. Jacobson currently serves on the city of Franklin’s Battlefield Task Force and is Franklin’s Charge board member. He has spoken to dozens of organizations around the country and recently contributed to the documentary “The Civil War: The Untold Story,” which covered the war in the Western Theatre.

He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, not far from the battlefield.

On the night of Nov. 28, 1864, Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee marched toward Spring Hill to get astride Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield’s Union army’s supply line. Hood was pursuing Schofield as the Yankees withdrew north from Columbia toward Nashville. Cavalry skirmishing between Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson’s Union cavalry and Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate troopers continued throughout the day as the Confederates advanced. On Nov. 29, Hood’s infantry crossed the Duck River and converged on Spring Hill. In the meantime, Schofield reinforced two brigades holding the crossroads in town there guarding the Union supply trains. In the late afternoon, the Federals repulsed several piecemeal Confederate attacks. The Rebel infantry and cavalry attacks from east to west attempted to dislodge Schofield’s army from the Columbia Pike, their route north to Nashville. During the evening, the rest of Schofield’s command passed unmolested from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin — within a few hundred yards of Hood’s men in their camps for the night.

This was, perhaps, Hood’s best chance to isolate and defeat the Union army. The engagement has been described as “one of the most controversial non-fighting events of the entire war.”

The next day, Hood met Schofield 12 miles north at Franklin. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, with Hood’s Confederate casualties equaling that of R.E. Lee’s casualties at the Battle of Antietam.

If you want to go:

Meeting date: Monday, Oct. 9.

Program: “For Cause and For Country: A study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin.”

Location: Eastman Employee Center, Room 219, 400 S. Wilcox Drive, Kingsport.

Time: 7 p.m.

Cost: free.

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