The Second Battle of Franklin (more popularly known simply as The Battle of Franklin) was fought at Franklin, Tennessee, on November 30, 1864, as part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of the American Civil War. It was one of the worst disasters of the war for the Confederate States Army. Although the Union Army of the Ohio, commanded by Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, left the field after the battle, the Confederate Army suffered devastating losses—including six generals killed or mortally wounded—in its unsuccessful frontal assaults against the Union defenders, sometimes called the "Pickett's Charge of the West." A further loss at the subsequent Battle of Nashville in December marked the end of Confederate General John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee as a fighting force.
The Battle of Franklin followed the Battle of Spring Hill of the previous day. Hood's Army of Tennessee had allowed Schofield's Army of the Ohio to slip by it relatively untouched during the night. Hood had hoped to destroy Schofield before he could link up with the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas, in Nashville, about 18 miles north of Franklin. That combined Union force would be over 60,000 men. When the armies met at Franklin, however, Hood had approximately 38,000 men to Schofield's 30,000.
Schofield's advance guard arrived in Franklin at about 6:00 a.m., after a forced march north from Spring Hill. Brig. Gen. Jacob Dolson Cox, a division commander temporarily commanding the Union XXIII Corps (and later governor of Ohio), immediately began preparing strong defensive positions around breastworks originally constructed for the First Battle of Franklin in 1863. The defensive line formed approximately a semicircle around the town, from northwest to southeast; the other half of the semicircle was the Harpeth River.
Schofield's decided to defend at Franklin with his back to the river because he had no pontoon bridges available that would enable...