Illinois Regiments in the Battle of Franklin
(Franklin, Tennessee)
(November 30, 1864)


Following the engagement at Spring Hill, Confederate General John Bell Hood again tried to cut off and destroy the 4th Corps (Army of the Cumberland) under Union General Schofield before it could get back to the fortifications and the rest of the army in Nashville.

The town of Franklin lies on the south bank of the Harpeth river. The railroad bridge at the town had been damaged by Confederate cavalry attacks. It would take several hours to get all the Union supplies across the river. As a result, the Union troops would have to defend the river crossings.

The 4th Corps built a semi-circle of fortifications just outside the town in an arc facing south. Their line was anchored at the river at both ends. In front of the Union line was a treeless plain that would provide no cover for the attacking confederates (Link to map, right panel).

US Brig. General Wagner positioned 2 brigades in an east-west line across the Nashville turnpike about one-half mile in front of the main union lines. These troops were ordered to fire and fall back when approached. Unfortunately, many of these troops were under less experienced officers, having lost much of their leadership the day before in fighting at Spring Hill.

The attack began at 4 pm. Hood spread his troops out with instructions to converge on the town. As Hood's troops approached Wagner's brigades, the order to fall back was not given until the trenches were overrun. The veterans of the regiments needed no encouragement to fall back, but many new recruits hesitated and were captured. Hood's troops followed the Union troops that were pulling back and briefly punctured the Union line. Reinforcements plugged the gap and the Union line was not threatened for the rest of the battle.

Hood's forces continued to attack the Union line to no avail. That night the Union troops pulled back across the Harpeth River to join the rest of the army in the Nashville fortifications.

Losses on the Confederate side were severe. Six Confederate Generals were killed or mortally wounded, including Pat Cleburne.

The Illinois regiments which took part in the Battle of Franklin are listed below. The links will take you to the regimental pages.

Source: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Dyer's Compendium

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