Mapping the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee

The Cartographic Branch holds maps relating to many well known Civil War battles like Gettysburg, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, and Shiloh. However, we also hold a variety of maps relating to some lesser-known battles. Today we’re featuring maps relating to the Battle of Franklin, which took place on November 30, 1864 in Tennessee.

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Topographical Map of Franklin, Tenn. and Vicinity.  This highly detailed map shows the terrain in the area of Franklin, Tennessee. It also shows fortifications, roads, railroads, and some families who lived in the area.  RG 77, Fortification File, Drawer 147, Sheet 48.

In the fall of 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of the Tennessee and Union General John Schofield’s Army of the Ohio faced off against each other in Tennessee, moving north toward Nashville. After side-stepping around Hood’s troops at Spring Hill, Union forces occupied Franklin and constructed fortifications, forming a strong defensive line on the south edge of town.

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“Map of Franklin Tenn including field works & position of troops, 4th and 23d Corps during the Engagement of November 30th, 1864.”  This map is a manuscript map showing the Union lines and fortifications. Note that the map is oriented opposite of most maps, with south at the top of the map and north at the bottom. RG 77, Civil Works Map File, T80.

At about 4:00 PM on November 30, Confederate General John Bell Hood’s Army of the Tennessee began a frontal assault against this strongly fortified Union position outside of Franklin. The Confederates attacked across about two miles of open ground. A bloody and terrible battle commenced. After several hours of hard fighting, the Confederates were eventually pushed back. The battle resulted in over 10,000 casualties. About 7,000 of those killed, wounded, missing, and captured soldiers were Confederates, including 14 generals.

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“Battlefield in front of Franklin Tenn.” This maps shows the initial positions of both the Union (blue) and Confederate (red) troops, and the altered positions after the main attack had taken place. The Confederates were repulsed. RG 77, Civil Works Map File, T 89-1.
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“Battlefield in front of Franklin Tennessee.” This is another map showing the Union positions (in blue) and Confederate positions (in red) before and during the Battle of Franklin. This manuscript map also includes an attached summary of the battle. RG 77, Civil Works Map File, Z 77. 

Although the battle resulted in a Union victory, General Schofield pulled out his Union troops and continued toward Nashville, following orders received before the battle. On December 1, 1864, Union troops entered the fortifications outside of Nashville with Hood’s weakened Confederate Army in pursuit.

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“Topographical Map of Nashville Tenn and Vicinity.” This map shows the terrain and fortifications near Nashville, Tennessee. After the battle of Franklin, the Union Army moved north to Nashville, where another battle would take place in December. RG 77, Fortification File, Drawer 147, Sheet 46. 

These maps represent just some of the Cartographic Branch’s large collection of Civil War maps. For more information on Civil War maps held by the Cartographic Branch, see A Guide to Civil War Maps in the National Archives.

 

References:

American Battlefield Trust. Franklin. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/franklin.

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