Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Field Hospitals — Hood's Campaign —

Marker ID:  
Location: at the intersection of West Main Street (State Highway 246) and Columbia Avenue (U.S. 31), Franklin, TN
County: Williamson
Coordinates: N 35° 55.419    W 086° 52.314
  35.92365    -86.8719
Waymark: None


Field Hospitals
Caring for the Wounded
— Hood's Campaign —

In September 1864, after Union Gen. William T. Sherman defeated Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood at Atlanta, Hood led the Army of Tennessee northwest against Sherman's supply lines. Rather than contest Sherman's "March to the Sea," Hood moved north into Tennessee. Gen. John M. Schofield, detached from Sherman's army, delayed Hood at Columbia and Spring Hill before falling back to Franklin. the bloodbath here on November 30 crippled the confederates, but they followed Schofield to the outskirts of Nashville and Union Gen. George H Thomas's strong defenses. Hood's campaign ended when Thomas crushed his army on December 15-16.

The aftermath of the Battle of Franklin almost overwhelmed the population of fewer than 1,000 as the residents adapted many of the buildings in town to care for about 4,000 Union and Confederate wounded. Private residences, such as Carnton, became field hospitals even before the battle ended. Soon, scores of other dwellings, as well as businesses, stables, barns, and churches, took in thousands of broken bodies.

St. Paul's Church, which already had been used as a Union barracks, sheltered the Federal wounded who were abandoned when the army marched to Nashville. Near here, the Presbyterian church (on the same spot as the present building) also took in many of them. Other buildings that served include the Williamson County Courthouse, Clouston Hall, the Sally Carter house, the Old Factory Store, the John B. McEwen house, and the Marshall house. A local boy, Hardin Figuers, later recounted with pride how the Franklin civilians "took charge of the wounded and divided with them their last morsel."

U.S. Christian Commission agents arrived soon after the battle and helped the residents care for the wounded. As late as March 1865, forty-four buildings in and around town still serve as hospitals, and patients remained here until mid-1865. One of the last to die was Confederate surgeon Fielding Sloan, on June 19,1865. Union Col. Robert Bradshaw, wounded seven times, was among the last to leave in July 1865. "The men... had all been lying there during the two weeks [since the battle] ... on the bare floor. ... A sickening, poisonous atmosphere ... seemed to suffocate me. ... I hurried out without getting a chance to speak to anyone. ... The stench arising form the putrefying wounds was really unbearable." -W.A. Keesy, 64th Ohio Infantry, At a Franklin hospital.

Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.


More information:
Wikipedia: Battle of Franklin (1864)