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November 1864

'Folly at Franklin'


After the fall of the city of Atlanta, John Bell Hood moves his forces northward.  In November, they are poised to threaten the Union hold on Nashville and Middle Tennessee.  William T. Sherman has committed himself to a march toward Savannah, Georgia, and left the defense of Tennessee to the redoubtable “Rock of Chickamauga,” George Henry Thomas.  Thomas works diligently to assemble a full command, including directing John M. Schofield to retire slowly in the face of the Confederate advance.  Schofield comes close to grief at Spring Hill, Tennessee, before proceeding to the town of Franklin, on the Harpeth River.  There he awaits Hood’s next step.  This comes at the end of the day on November 30, fittingly under a blood red sky as the day comes to a close.  Veterans under Patrick R. Cleburne surge forward, closing on a section that lies near the Carter House and Gin, while their comrades strive to find success at other points along the lines at Franklin.  Much is at stake as Hood’s men smash into the Federals, only to confront sheets of fire that will decimate their ranks and cost the Confederacy some of its best field commanders.  Alfred Waud’s sketch (left) captures the quiet pathos of General Hood, while Schofield (right) emerges from the bloody contest to march on to Nashville to join Thomas there.

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