Friday, February 26, 2010

Franklin - Union Forward Line

The most well known Franklin fighting occurs at the Carter House and Cotton Gin, but there are other areas that saw action. Most of these are lost to development. One such area is the Union's forward line.

As the Union army retreated into the defenses around Franklin Wagner's Division formed a defensive line in front of the main entrenchments. Emerson Opdycke thought the order was ridiculous and kept his brigade marching into town, eventually stopping just north of the Carter House. Wagner's two remaining brigades were quickly overwhelmed once the Confederate attack began and were routed. Opdycke's men would pitch into the fight around the Carter House and help turn the tide (which we'll get to in another post). A few days later Wagner would request to be relieved of command.

Basically nothing remains of this forward line. There is a nice marker next to a car wash but that's about it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Franklin - Winstead Hill

Winstead Hill is a small park south of Franklin. Hood kept his headquarters here during the battle as it offered a nice view of the valley. It still offers a nice view although there are a ton of buildings in the way now. But you can still see where many of the important parts of the battlefield are from here.

When I first went to Winstead Hill all that was near the parking lot to indicate this was a Civil War park was the cannon and the state historical marker. Since then a monument to Freeman's Battery of Forrest's Cavalry (for an April 10, 1863 engagement) has been placed here.

There is also a marker in the parking lot to explain the history of this piece of ground.

Up the hill is a nice metal relief map that shows important places and gives some background of the battle.

And here is the view from the map. The Columbia Pike can be seen running across the center of the picture towards the left, disappearing at the top of a ridge (which is right where the Cotton Gin and the Carter House are).

A view from the bottom of the hill so you can see that the Columbia Pike is right next to the hill.

And some closeups of the Freeman's Battery monument. Monuments of this design are up at various other parks. I've seen them at Brice's Crossroads and Parker's Crossroads. There might be others I'm forgetting about but those two instantly pop into mind.

Near the relief map are a bunch of other monuments for the generals killed at Franklin, there were six in all.

John Adams

John C. Carter

Otho F. Strahl

States Rights Gist

Hiram Granbury

and Patrick Cleburne

There is also a monument to Cockrell's Missouri Brigade.

This is a very nice park. Its nice that it has a good number of markers and monuments that help explain the battle. Its also nice because it offers good views of the battlefield. One can only imagine how good these views might have been if the battlefield had been preserved in the 1890s but that is long since past. I imagine the visitor's center would have been at Winstead Hill.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Yesterday at kindergarten my son learned about Lincoln, well truthfully he already knew what the teacher said but this just helped cement it in his mind. They are doing four presidents this month, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt (maybe they should carve those guys on a mountain somewhere).

So during dinner I prodded him for information on Lincoln. At first his descriptions were pretty vague. Lincoln was a president. And Lincoln was a he. This was gonna be rough. But eventually he opened up that Lincoln was president during the Civil War. That before the war he was a lawyer (and that he grew up). He had a beard. He is on the penny. I wondered if the teacher told of his death but I decided against asking what Lincoln did after the Civil War; even if she had told them of his death he might not be able to articulate that there was no "after the war" for Lincoln.

All in all they did a good job of covering the basics. I'm sure he knows nothing of things like Lincoln's Spot Resolution but its kindergarten so the basics are fine.

And I'll be back to a normal blogging schedule tomorrow, starting with some blogs on the battle of Franklin.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Its gonna be a boy!

Monday we went in for an 18 week ultrasound and the little baby looks very good. They measured all sorts of things and he's running a few days small but that's not a big deal. But the most important thing to come out of it was that the baby is a boy. So now we can focus on picking the name. Plus I can paint the room the appropriate color and once we start buying clothes and things they don't need to be unisex anymore.

The early front runners for name are:
John Paul Braxton
Thomas John
Matthew Archer

But our tastes change daily so the final decision may not have any of those names in it. But it feels good to finally be serious about a name.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Sorry for the hiatus of late, I've been busy getting bedrooms ready for the expanding family. Our office has been transformed into a bedroom for our son. I'm finally done with that and will move him into it this weekend. Then I will start on turning his old room into the nursery.

With some luck we might find out the gender of the baby next Monday. Then we can start figuring out the name. We've thrown a lot of ideas out there but until we actually know the gender it seems hard to really pick the name. My wife is open to Braxton as a middle name for a boy. I think if the baby comes on July 4th we need to do a patriotic name, like George Ulysses for the twin Union victories of 1863. My wife is not as convinced on that one. If its a girl we've grown fond of Olivia lately but there is still many months for us to change our mind.

When I've had free time lately I've been fine tuning a manuscript. The likelihood of it getting published looks very promising as it will be part of a series from a publisher, but nothing is ever guaranteed. So for the time being I've decided to shelve my plans for using createspace. I got a lot of good feedback from my post. On one end was the advice that my work is good enough for a real publisher, that I've got to just keep working at it and one day the chips will fall into place. On the other end was practical advice on how to go the self publishing route and turn out a product that would look very professional.

An exciting job opportunity in the Civil War community came my way. I'm one of many applicants and the job really won't be open for a little while yet, but I am excited for the opportunity and maybe I'll be lucky enough to get it.

On a sad note I am getting rid of my truck because I need a car that can handle two car seats. I've had that truck 10 or 11 years now (its a 1990) and even took it back to Chickamauga once for a great two week trip camping out. I'm gonna miss the truck but I'm excited that I've already found its replacement, a 2000 Land Rover, and I look forward to getting some Tennessee mud on it in the future.