First Battle of Franklin Tennessee


Brigadier General
Forum Host
Apr 11, 2016
Upstate South Carolina
Today April 10, 1863 was the First Battle of Franklin Tennessee. The Confederate Commander was Major General Earl Van Dorn and the Union Commander was Major General Gordon Granger. The Confederacy lost about 137 men while the Union lost 100 Men. This was a Union Victory. I was able to find a news article about this battle.

First Battle of Franklin.jpg
May 18, 2005
Spring Hill, Tennessee
We have been so much accustomed of late to skirmishing, that any serious thoughts of an attack on this place was not entertained and even when, on yesterday, about 4 p.m., the firing became continuous, no excitement was manifest either in the citizens or soldiers. Not till the loud yells of the advancing rebels and the furious flight of some of our cavalry through town, accompanied by riderless horses, were we aroused to the belief that any more than a demonstration was intended on our front, and ere we had time to take a calm glance at the subject, the matter was decided by seeing our and the rebel cavalry coming down our main street pell mell, ours slightly in advance, but the rebels gaining on them every jump. They dashed through town and some of them reached the pontoon bridge under the very muzzle of our guns. So sudden and impetuous was the charge, that every one was taken by surprise, and no doubt is very boldness saved them to some extent. Dearly, however, they paid for it, as a very small proportion of them escaped either death or capture. Van Dorn advanced on the Columbia pike with a battery of artillery. Cosby [sic] came by the Louisburg pike [sic], while Starens [Starnes] and Forrest were essaying to make the rear of our works by a road crossing the Harpeth three miles east of town, and known as the Nichol Mill road. In anticipation of this move on their part, Gen. Granger had sent a large body of cavalry, under General Stanley to guard that crossing and check their advance. Meantime Cosby's forces advanced on our pickets, (4-th Ohio) who fought them most handsomely for an hour or more, but finally fell back under cover of our guns. They formed and advanced until within range of our siege pieces in the fort, planting their battery west of the Columbia pike and firing into the town. Our battery fired shell into their lines, and succeeded in forcing them back and breaking them. We had some fine artillery practice, indicating great skill on the part of the gunners.

When they had fallen back from our front we heard continuous firing from the forces of Stanly. Here the 4th regulars distinguished themselves by one of the finest charges of the war, capturing the rebel artillery, and 200 prisoners, but which unfortunately we could not hold: and all the artillery, with most of the prisoners were retaken. Our loss on this part of the field was slight, not amounting to more than twenty, that of the rebels unknown, as they carried off their dead. Infantry reinforcements were out from here, but the rebels fell back towards Spring Hill. The fight near town resulted in the loss to the rebels of fifteen killed, including two Captains and one Lieutenant, six wounded and taken, including a Major, and twelve prisoners. The total number of prisoners taken here and by Stanley is about seventy, among them several officers Capt. Freeman, of Freeman's battery is among the killed. Federal loss here four killed, four wounded and three missing, all belonging to the 40th Ohio. A reconnoissance [sic] from the front has just returned, and the rebels have disappeared.

Most of the prisoners taken here belong to the 28th Mississippi mounted infantry. Many of those captured by Stanley, are Tennesseans.
Jan 28, 2021
Freeman was shot in the face because he could not keep up on the march as a POW
His loss would cause Forrest to kill wills Gould the following June - becasue he lost 2 guns at the battle of DAys GAp, AL
Jan 28, 2021
M orton did
But when the battery had to be split at DAy's Gap, Gould took a section. If Freemen were still alive that section might have been commanded by Morton.
May 18, 2005
Spring Hill, Tennessee
Thinking a few lines from this locality might possess a modicum of interest for the readers of your journal, I will briefly narrate some of the operations of the First Cavalry Corps during the last few days.

The first cavalry corps, commanded by Gen. Earl Van Dorn, constitutes the left wing of Bragg's army. The first division is commanded by Gen. Forrest, the second is commanded by Gen. W. H. Jackson, with Cosby and Whitfield as Brigadiers.

Cosby's brigade is composed almost entirely of Mississippians, and is the first brigade of the division. Starke, Pinson, Balentine and Woodward are the Colonels of the brigade.

Spring Hill is a small but delightfully situated town in Williamson county, about twelve miles north of Columbia, and ten miles south of Franklin--the latter place being situated on the south bank of a small stream known as Harpeth river, and claiming notoriety at present as being the point on which the extreme right flank of Rosecrans' army rests. A large force is posted at Franklin, and fortifications of no mean extent and pretensions have been erected. Immediately north of Franklin and on the opposite bank of the river, a succession of steep hills abruptly terminates the plain in which that town is embosomed. It is on these precipitous steeps that the enemy have planted their large siege pieces, commanding every street in the little place and ranging over the hills that constitute the southern boundary of the town. A large and strongly built fort frowns on the approaches on its left flank, whilst the town itself is occupied by an imposing force of infantry, cavalry and artillery.

At roll-call on the morning of the 10th inst., the 28th was ordered to be in readiness to march at 10 o'clock A.M., of that day. At the appointed time we were in line and a brief march, assimilating to a charge in its rapidity, soon put us face to face with Franklin and its warlike defenses. Pinson's regiment was on our right, dismounted as skirmishers, and Balentine on our left in the same capacity, whilst we were drawn up in line of battle in the plain immediately in front of the town. The continuous and sharp roar of the skirmishers to our right and left soon admonished us that the fight had commenced, and on another field and for the hundredth time Mississippi courage and devotion was about to be put to the test. But the time given us for reflection was short. We were ordered forward, and a minute's time brought us in full view and within easy range of the enemy's infantry, drawn up in two ranks immediately in our front. At this moment the bugle sounded the charge, and as the inspiring sound peated out, it was answered by one of those cheers for which Mississippians are not a little noted. And away swept the old 28th, with the velocity of the ______. As we neared their infantry a galling fire was poured into our ranks, but faster and faster did we go forward, and louder and louder became our yells. As our gallant boys rode up and discharged their pistols in the very faces of their infantry, their lines broke into inextricable confusion and sought safety in flight or in a supplicating surrender. Without waiting to secure the prisoners, we swept by. On our right and left we were assailed by the enemy's flankers and solid infantry, whilst in our front a deadly and cowardly fire was poured into us from behind the protection of brick houses, and now added to all, their heavy siege pieces opened with solid shot, grape and shell; but still, we pressed on, passed the fiery ordeal, gained all the principal streets, patroled the town and captured scores of Yankees, and finally halted on the banks of Harpeth, at the water's edge, under the very muzzle of their siege pieces. Here cheer after cheer went up for Jeff Davis, Mississippi, and the 28th. Here it was announced that the prisoners who had surrendered during our furious onslaught into the place, seeing us all pass by and that we had not support, had reformed and had occupied the places out of which they had been driven with so much cost, and were prepared to resist our egress from the town. At the word, we all promptly formed and again charge the Yankee hosts. We again scattered them like chaff before the wind, and though surrounded by open and concealed foes, who poured a withering fire upon us from all sides, passed through all without our ranks being broken and again formed in perfect line in an open plain almost in their very midst. We here remained exposed to the well-directed fire of the enemy for over an hour. It now became known that our division had performed its part of the combination successfully, and that we were waiting for Gen. Forrest to attack the fortifications of the enemy in the rear. It seems that the designs of Van Dorn in that quarter had been anticipated by the enemy and foiled. After it had become known that Forrest had failed in the projected surprise in the rear, it was evident that remaining in our position would only cause the enemy to open their siege guns on the town, by which the women and children would be the principal sufferers. General Jackson accordingly withdrew his division. Our regiment was the last to leave and marched off unpursued and in splendid style, as if on dress parade. We returned to our camp with the consciousness of having, so far as on us depended, preserved unsullied and unimpaired the character of our noble state. Other deductions may be made from the occurrences of that day. Yankee infantry can be taken, disordered and dispersed by a well sustained charge of cavalry. A well organized cavalry corps thoroughly drilled, properly mounted and equipped, may and ought to be made invaluable. It is to be hoped that a new era is about to dawn on our cavalry service, and that the illustrious conflict, through which we are gaining our independence will cease to record infantry and artillery heroes only, and hereafter number among them, the cavalry soldier. Pinson's and Balentine's regiment, both deserved well of their country and have been complimented in general orders.

It has been my object to detail the part performed by the 28th, and not to give anything like a description of the general fight. Our loss though heavy, is not anything like what would be supposed to attend such a desperate undertaking. The suddenness of the charge and the fact of its being totally unexpected by the enemy, and the density of the dust, which to some extend obscured our movements, are the principal causes why we escaped so much lighter than we hoped for. We had in the charge about three hundred men. Our loss was fifty-three.

Where all behaved so well it would be invidious and unjust to particularize the individuals or companies, but no officer or member of the 28th will deem his glory in any way diminished, or his services in any was slighted by the mention of the name of Major E. P. Jones, who was in command of the regiment and who so heroically led the charge.

I herewith enclose a list of casualties and also general order No. 10, which, as tributes to Mississippi soldiership, may be worthy of a place in your columns. M.

(Follows is a list of all the casualties in the regiment. S. T. Morman, Co. B, Killed; J. Pentecost, Co. B, Killed; W. W. Caperton, Co. B, Killed; Corp'l Thos. Christian, Co. C, Killed; and Major E. P. Jones, commanding, wounded and captured. This is followed by congratulatory order from Jackson.)



April 10, 1863.

General Order, No. 10.

It is with pride and pleasure that the Brigadier General commanding Division, notices the gallant and meritorious conduct of the officers and men of the 28th Regiment Mississippi Cavalry; 1st Brigade, in the charge upon Franklin to-day. When ordered to charge into the town, they did so promptly and at their swiftest speed, and although in the face of the enemy's batteries and houses lined with their sharpshooter, they drove everything resistlessly before them, and pushed their victorious columns to the banks of the Harpeth River, killing and wounding a considerable number of the enemy, and upon returning formed in good order in an open field, in easy range, and under the well-directed fire of the enemy's heavy guns. To show the danger to which they were exposed, attention is directed to the official report of the killed, wounded and missing. Such exhibitions of valor reflects the highest credit upon their State, themselves and their families, and serves to weaken and intimidate the foe.

The charge of to-day, into Franklin, under such adverse circumstances, finds not parallel in this was, and will embellish another page in the history of our country with the martial achievements and glory of Southern arms.

II.--High mention is due the officers and those of the 1st Mississippi Cavalry, (Pinson) 1st Brigade, for the dashing manner in which they charged and drove the enemy into their fortifications. Also, to my escort, Captain D. H. Taylor commanding, for the fearless manner in which on the 31st of March; and to-day they charged superior forces with great success.

Compliments are extended to the Division for the excellent manner in which they maintained their ground during the fury of the fire of the enemy's siege guns, and the orderly manner in which they advanced from and returned to their camps.

Such behavior is worthy the imitation of every soldier, and will bear repetition on any field.


By order of Brigadier-General W. H. JACKSON.

GEORGE MORRMAN, Captain and A. A. General.”