Historian notes day fallen hero died in war
For Ray Ashley, today has special meaning in Gran-bury’s and Hood County’s history.
On this date 155 years ago in the small village of Franklin, Tennessee on the outskirts of Nashville, Confederate General John Bell Hood launched an ill-advised attack on entrenched Federal positions, Ashley said.
Franklin was located on the southern bank of the Harpeth River. It was a modest town of only several hundred residents with no military importance other than the location of John M. Schofield’s U.S. Army’s 23rd Corps, which had recently been chased from Spring Hill by Hood, Ashley recounted.
Confederate troops did not arrive on the scene until the morning of the 30th after a weary march, according to Ashley.
Hood’s frontal assault did not commence until 4 p.m. and lasted until almost 9 that evening.
Federal troops were guarded by 4- to 5-foot embankments as well as well-placed abatis – field fortifications consisting of obstacles formed with the branches of trees laid in a row with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy.
According to Ashley, the battle was pretty evenly matched with the advantage favoring the Federals, which numbered 32,000 to the Confederates’ 28,000.
But the attacking force had to cross the river as well as fight their way uphill to overpower the opposition position.
It was a disaster for Hood’s army, Ashley said.
When the smoke cleared about 6,300 rebels were either killed or wounded. Among them was division commander Patrick Cleburne and brigade commander Hiram S Granbury.
Four other general officers were killed outright and more than 50 regimental commanders were either killed or captured.
According to Ashley, Granbury’s body was finally recovered by some of his troops later that night at the foot of the federal lines.
His body was buried with others at the cemetery there and later disinterred and reburied in the Granbury cemetery in 1893 by the efforts of Fort Worth civic leader Maj. K. M. VanZandt, formerly adjutant of the 7th Texas.