With Granbury's Brigade at Franklin-Nashville, Oct. 1-3, 2004

James N.

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#1
Part I of II
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Since this is the anniversary of the Battle of Spring Hill, Tennessee, Nov. 29, 1864, which led on the following day to the Confederate disaster at Franklin I thought I'd share some photos from a memorable event commemorating the action which I attended as part of the medical department attached to the reenactment unit then known as Granbury's Brigade, seen above which was there representing its namesake. This was a sprawling affair held neither on the actual 140th anniversary dates of the battles nor on the actual battlefields, but instead the likely more pleasant first weekend in October on land that had seen part of the maneuvering and action of Spring Hill.

Oaklawn House
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The authentic Confederate camps were on the grounds of the Thompson mansion Oaklawn which was used the night of Nov. 29 by General John B. Hood as his headquarters and where he slept while the Union army of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield made its stealthy retreat under the very noses of the tired Rebel troops only a short distance away. In my photo below a group of ladies and Confederate staff officers can be seen on the side porch during a soiree or some other activity during the event.

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Authentic Confederate Camps
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The photo above shows only part of the very large Confederate authentic camp, no doubt much larger and nicer than anything the Army of Tennessee was capable of in the stressful Autumn of 1864. Below is a view from our hospital tent, so designated by the red flag. This was in the area of Confederate headquarters and although we had gone to considerable effort setting up our camp we had virtually no visitors at all during the four days this served as our "home". As usual, the Union camps were removed a good distance making visits a chore and the sutler area was likewise at some distance from our camp.

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Franklin's Carnton House and McGavock Confederate Cemetery
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Our group arrived sometime Thursday afternoon, September 30, 2004 and located our campsite and erected tentage, etc. The following day, Oct. 1, was the first day of planned activities but nothing really happened until the evening when a tactical representing Spring Hill was scheduled to occur on part of the actual battlefield. That gave us plenty of time for a side trip around noon to Franklin to visit parts of the battlefield there. We stopped briefly on Winstead Hill where our surgeon, member Doug Garnett ( @1863surgeon ) managed to start off by losing his newly purchased period glasses - an augury of what was to follow!

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We only briefly stopped at the Carter House - and this was when Domino's and Pizza Hut were still very much in evidence! - so proceeded to the place I wanted most to visit, having never been there before, Carnton House. The photos above and below show the rear view including the porch where following the disasterous battle the bodies of four Confederate generals were brought from where they had fallen and laid side-by-side.

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There were several groups of reenactors respectfully wandering through adjacent McGavock Cemetery below where the bodies of the fallen Confederates were interred in the years following the battle.

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Next, Part II - The Reenactments
 
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James N.

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#3
Part II - Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville
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This 140th anniversary reenactment was an elaborate affair that represented all three of the major events of Hood's ill-fated 1864 Tennessee Campaign: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville. As planned the first of these, Spring Hill, was to be represented by a late evening/all-night tactical. Our part as medics was to follow our designated unit, Granbury's Brigade, seen above during a halt before setting out on the march. This whole effort came unraveled when someone was injured and our surgeon Doug (a retired real-life paramedic) accompanied the for-real patient to the local hospital and the buggy in which I was riding snapped its wheels on an incline, throwing me heavily on the ground on my back. Therefore I have nothing to say about the success of the scenario other than that it apparently came off as planned. We didn't return to our camp until sometime late that night.

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There were two spectator battles, Saturday's representing the Confederate assault at Franklin, and Sunday afternoon's representing the Shy's Hill action at Nashville. Unfortunately, I was too "busy" at the latter to attempt any photography so the rest here will concentrate on the Franklin scenario. For our part, we located our field hospital in the actual family cemetery above belonging to the owners of the Cheairs estate Rippavilla, on which land the reenactments were held.

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The photos above and below are only two of many nearly identical I took while we were waiting for the reenactment to begin; I was fascinated by the location as well as the background which continually changed as the mounted Morton's Battery of the Memphis Forrest Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans marched past towards their positions for the battle. Above, Surgeon Garnett poses with the two boys of fellow surgeon James "Jim" Lackey who is also seen below talking with Doug.

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Of course, Yours Truly, sporting a new ugly bristly and itchy gray beard had also to be immortalized for the occasion, as seen above as Confederate guns continue to pass in the background!

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Granbury's Brigade formed up for the attack in front of our station which can be seen in the background at far left.

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Doug, Jim, and the boys are tearing and rolling bandages in anticipation of their impending use while some of the infantry watch, no doubt with grim resolve.

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Brigade officers meet, many for the last time; General Granbury is at right below wearing spectacles.

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Above, the brigade moves out along with the rest of Cleburne's Division (note their distinctive unit flags) for the attack as Surgeon Garnett watches from our field hospital, below.

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Following the disastrous Confederate assault two wagons like the one below began removing the bodies of the casualties to bring them to our hospital to join the walking wounded; I'm standing at center and it was to me that fell the duty of examining the body of our fallen leader Hiram Granbury and pronouncing him dead.

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The following day saw a very clever representation of Shy's Hill at Nashville on the same battlefield, but in reverse; the viewpoint for spectators at Franklin had been from behind the outnumbered Federal lines as the usual horde of Confederate reenactors made the grand assault. For Nashville, the Confederates were behind an earthen embankment firing at unseen (by the crowd) Union attacks by what was in reality only a skirmish line liberally supplied with U. S. flags; after a time of this charade, the real Union assault was made from the Confederate left flank, forcing the mounted Morton's Battery to limber up and retreat - nearly over our aid station! - and resulting in a Rebel rout and our capture along with the wounded. I easily recognized the Union commander Gen. Mark Dolive on whose staff I had previously served at Shiloh and Gettysburg among the mounted Federal officers and surrendered our hospital to him. Thus ended what must have been one of the last really large reenactments held in "the Western Theater."

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BelleBlackburn

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#6
Which - Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville, Carnton, Rippavilla, or all of the above? I don't suppose you were at this reenactment, were you?

All of the above except Rippavilla. I live in Nashville and used to work in downtown Franklin and have attended events and toured at Carnton and Carter House through the years. But nope, not at that reenactment.
 

James N.

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All of the above except Rippavilla. I live in Nashville and used to work in downtown Franklin and have attended events and toured at Carnton and Carter House through the years. But nope, not at that reenactment.
Too bad - I'd like to hear the opinion of someone who was a spectator as to how they thought it looked, especially the Nashville scenario; from where I was I thought it all looked pretty good!
 
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CMWinkler

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That was a great reenactment. I was there but not in gray. I was in campflage BDUs as part of the Tennessee State Guard's security contingent. I'll never forget the rush and deployment of the artillery and then their rehitching and rushing from the field. It really felt like you were seeing the real thing. A great event.
 

James N.

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That was a great reenactment. I was there but not in gray. I was in campflage BDUs as part of the Tennessee State Guard's security contingent. I'll never forget the rush and deployment of the artillery and then their rehitching and rushing from the field. It really felt like you were seeing the real thing. A great event.
Thanks, CMW - that's the sort of reply I was hoping to hear - I thought the Nashville scenario was very cleverly "staged" in order to make the most effective use of participants involved. For those who may not have "gotten the picture", it was somewhat like the Kurz and Allison print:
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The crowd of spectators could only see the inside of the Confederate works and their backs as they fired forward towards the non-existent overwhelming Federal horde that was out-of-sight across the earthworks, and only "suggested" by waving flags and some scattered rifle fire. The full force of Union reenactors (who were of course actually the ones outnumbered by the mass of Rebel reenactors) were then able to enfilade or outflank the earthworks like in the print above. I thought the action by the Confederate artillery as it went in- and out-of-battery probably looked pretty convincing!
 
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gunny

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#11
I was with Cleburne's back then. I remember when we were doing the Shy's hill "Nashville" portion, I suggested we cut some of the Osage trees behind us to use as abatis. Next thing I knew, others followed suit and we had an abatis that stretched nearly thirty or more yards across our frontage. Needless to say, the Federal reenactors in our front found a truly thorny obstruction. We held our line while our flanks were collapsed with no obstructions. A true blast and clear indicator of what staked obstructions could do to formations.
 
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#13
Phil and Dusty Franklin.jpg
I. also was at Franklin in 2004 in Granbury's Brigade, portraying the 6th-15th Texas. We were not a battalion, but were a full 300-man, 10 company regiment. I wrote a long article for the Camp Chase Gazette about the weekend, and here's my favorite hundred or so words from that article:

"We marched off and made it to our first campsite not too long after dark. Despite the lack of visibility, order sort of prevailed, and over three hundred of us spread blankets, made fires, and settled in.

Before midnight, the water casks were empty and the great draught horses pulled the supply wagons to a water source for refills. The huge wooden cask in the blue wagon proved the most popular of our choices, as freshly filled canteens had just a hint of a wafting aroma of Jack Daniels as thirsty men brought them to their lips. Seems the cask was a used surplus item from the famous distillery, and aging whiskey in old oak leaves a lasting aftertaste. But, I didn’t hear any complaints, and I was sorry when mine was empty.

“GET UP YOU BUTCHERS, YOU BAKERS, YOU PASTY FACED LAWYERS! GET UP YOU SONSOF*****ES!” Those words meant it was 5:00 am and Sgt. Major Crisp was on the job, ahead of everyone else. Off went the blanket and on came the brogans, as others all around shook out the predawn cobwebs. I wouldn’t trade it."

Lots more good stuff happened at that event. Here's two photos: The first is a father and son drummer and rifleman pair from our company, and my first sergeant Dusty and me the corporal fagged out at the end of the morning 2 mile march.
Drummer and Dad.jpg
 
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Delhi Rangers

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#18
View attachment 116026 I. also was at Franklin in 2004 in Granbury's Brigade, portraying the 6th-15th Texas. We were not a battalion, but were a full 300-man, 10 company regiment. I wrote a long article for the Camp Chase Gazette about the weekend, and here's my favorite hundred or so words from that article:

"We marched off and made it to our first campsite not too long after dark. Despite the lack of visibility, order sort of prevailed, and over three hundred of us spread blankets, made fires, and settled in.

Before midnight, the water casks were empty and the great draught horses pulled the supply wagons to a water source for refills. The huge wooden cask in the blue wagon proved the most popular of our choices, as freshly filled canteens had just a hint of a wafting aroma of Jack Daniels as thirsty men brought them to their lips. Seems the cask was a used surplus item from the famous distillery, and aging whiskey in old oak leaves a lasting aftertaste. But, I didn’t hear any complaints, and I was sorry when mine was empty.

“GET UP YOU BUTCHERS, YOU BAKERS, YOU PASTY FACED LAWYERS! GET UP YOU SONSOF*****ES!” Those words meant it was 5:00 am and Sgt. Major Crisp was on the job, ahead of everyone else. Off went the blanket and on came the brogans, as others all around shook out the predawn cobwebs. I wouldn’t trade it."

Lots more good stuff happened at that event. Here's two photos: The first is a father and son drummer and rifleman pair from our company, and my first sergeant Dusty and me the corporal fagged out at the end of the morning 2 mile march. View attachment 116025
I was at Franklin in 2004. We marched about 10 miles on Saturday and fought 3 battles. Incredible event and I will never forget the Confederate assault and the Carter House. Thousands of Confederate reenactors went in as the brass bands played.
 



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