Sabbath, Dec. 4, 1864
Some time has passed since I wrote you a letter and part of it a bloody time with me, but I am very thankful that I have been as lucky as not to receive a scratch.
To begin, I must relate from the end of the 29th Nov. That eve, after a brisk skirmish with the rebs, our forces commenced to withdraw from Columbia, Tenn. We marched all night, and in the morning about daylight we found ourselves at Franklin, Tenn., a distance of 23 miles–a pretty good night’s march. We got breakfast at Franklin, then went to fortifying the place. We marched all day until about 4 o’clock p.m., when the Johnnies thought they would try us.
On they came in three lines, driving our skirmishers and front line in ahead of them. We let them get up within about 400 yards of our marks. Then we opened fire on them with cannon and muskets, slaying hundreds. I tell you, it was but a few of them that reached the works and what did surrendered and came in. There was a few of them got up in safety and climbed over the marks and commenced a hand to hand fight with our men behind the works, but our men would just turn their muskets and beat their brains out right on the spot.
There was a steady firing kept up until after dark. After it ceased a little, I went over in front of the works to see what we had done. Well, for 400 yards in front, I could hardly step without stepping on dead and wounded men. The group was in a perfect slop and mud with blood and, oh, how they suffered that night was terrible, they had to lay just as they were shot down all night without anything done for them. I think they will long remember the last night of November 1864. Co. C had 4 men killed and 5 men wounded.
After the battle that night, we fell back from Franklin and left the dead for them to bury–that is, their own dead. We lost about 700 men in killed, wounded and missing. They lost about 6,000 killed and wounded and about 1,500 prisoners. Our corps and the 4th was all that was engaged.
We are now stationed at Nashville. There is some cannonading today from the fort. Their line of marks is about two miles in front but we have some guns that can easily throw shells to them. They threw a 64-pound ball. I tell you, they make a loud refrain when they go off. I don’t know if they will attack us here or not. If they do, they will get worse whipped than they did at Franklin…
Excuse this hastily written letter and all mistakes from your affectionate Brother,
Source: Tapert, Annette (ed.), The Brothers’ War: Civil War Letters to Their Loved Ones from the Blue and Gray (New York: Vintage Books, 1988), p. 225-227