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According to the AP:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee State Library and Archives will develop an online database of the state’s Civil War battlefields.

The project will convert a comprehensive Civil War database for Tennessee to a web-based application. According to a news release from the state, it will support protection for the 38 most important battlefields.

The database will link information from the Civil War Sourcebook for Tennessee to Civil War maps and documents archived at the library.

It will be available for the general public and federal, state and local planning agencies.

The database will be created under a $40,750 grant from the National Park Service

Sam Davis Elliott has just released a new book on Isham G. Harris titled Isham G. Harris of Tennessee: Confederate Governor and United States Senator. LSU Press. Tennessee history buffs will especially be interested in possibly reading it.

Professor Charles C. Rable reviewed Elliott’s new book and nicely summarizes Isham’s war-time story:

Harris was a successful lawyer and staunch Democrat in heavily Jacksonian West Tennessee. Serving in Congress, he strongly defended the expansion of slavery. Elected governor in 1857, Harris could accomplish little in that constitutionally weak office until mounting sectional troubles offered an opportunity for leadership. Despite a resurgent unionism early in 1861, Harris brought Tennessee down the path of secession by making military preparations to join the nascent Confederacy before the voters had agreed that the state should leave the Union. Even as he tried to avoid needlessly antagonizing East Tennessee Unionists, Harris became quite active in raising troops and preparing the state’s defenses. But after the Federals captured Forts Henry and Donelson and the Confederates had to abandon Nashville, the governor had little left to govern. These disasters, however, hardly deterred him. While serving as a volunteer military aide, he rushed to the side of the mortally wounded Albert Sidney Johnston on the Shiloh battlefield. For the rest of the war, Harris would travel with the Army of Tennessee and its various commanders. Remarkably Harris managed to get along with Braxton Bragg, Joseph Johnston, and John Bell Hood–no small achievement in itself. Nathan Bedford Forrest lauded him as a “fighting governor,” and his tireless recruitment of Tennesseans must have greatly pleased Confederate officials. Harris accompanied Jefferson Davis on a western speaking tour and served with Hood during the disastrous Tennessee campaign. Even after Appomattox, he remained a bitter ender who hoped to keep the war going in the Trans-Mississippi theater.

Sam Davis Elliott is the author of Soldier of Tennessee: General Alexander P. Stewart and the Civil War in the West and Doctor Quintard, Chaplain C.S.A. and Second Bishop of Tennessee: The Memoir and Civil War Diary of Charles Todd Quintard. He is a practicing attorney and lives near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Benjamin B. Hamilton
Chaplain of the 61st Illinois Infantry.

Camp of 61st Ills Vols
Bolivar Tenn

Feb 23 1863,

Maj Ohi showed me a Green County Loyalist today in which honorable mention is made…of the services of Capt Manning and Chaplain Hamilton in our late battle with Forests Brigade on the morning of the 19th December last…I felt resigned to my fate in allowing it to be known in Green County that I had been in a battle with the rebels. Some of my brother Chaplains think I ought not to have [been] there while on my part the only regret I experienced was that I did not carry a gun…I think Captain Manning…is at home now but I am afraid he will sup sorrow on account of his rash trip…I am afraid he has [got] himself into a bad scrape…The doings of the Illinois Copperheads have had a very unhappy influence upon the minds of some men in this Regiment. I think they are justly chargeable with the larger proportion of the Desertions which are taking place. There will be a bitter day of reckoning before long…Those men have no idea of the intense hatred entertained for them by four fifths of the army. And the day of vengeance is much nearer than any of them dream…

Benjamin B. Hamilton was commissioned into service on 1 November 1862 and resigned on 3 March 1865. At Shiloh, the regiment lost 80 men killed, wounded and missing. The regiment also saw action at Clarendon on the White River, and at Overall’s Creek just outside of Murfreesboro.

Hardeman County, Tennessee

Letter written by John A. Jackson

January 1, 1865,

addressed to General Thomas, reads in part:

“…I feel that the thanks of every Union loving heart, are due to you this bright New Year’s morning, that the ‘Stars & Stripes’ now float over Tennessee, instead of the piratical banner of Secession. I have never felt deeper interest in our cause, nor greater confidence that a triumph more signal, and glorious even than that before Nashville will soon crown the Union arms, and redeem our beloved South from the filthy pool of Secession in which she has been so long plunging – and clad in clean Union garments she will soon forget the stained and dishonored rags which her leaders for a time have compelled her sons to wear! War is a…terrible school in which we all share – all suffer – the innocent and the guilt but with you Gen’l to wield our armies I shall look soon for a peace – a conquered peace….”

Source: Live Auctioneers online

I recently interviewed some of the key leaders with Franklin’s Charge about their battlefield preservation efforts in Franklin, Tennessee, since 2005.To learn more about Franklin’s Charge or to donate check out their web site. recognized as a model for successful public/private partnership, Franklin’s Charge is dedicated to the preservation of “America’s Civil War Battlefield” in Franklin, Tennessee. Organized as a 501(c)(3) in 2005, members of Franklin’s Charge include individuals as well as local, state and national preservation groups such as the Civil War Preservation Trust and the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

The group’s inaugural project saved 112 acres of the eastern flank of the Battle of Franklin, the nation’s largest reclamation of a Civil War battlefield. In addition, Franklin’s Charge has collaborated with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area to present annual symposiums that educate the public about the Civil War in Middle Tennessee. Franklin’s Charge advocates heritage tourism, including support of the Tennessee Civil War Trails program. [From their web site]

What properties is FC currently looking at for potential Franklin battlefield reclamation?

FC: Franklin’s Charge is in the process of acquiring a number of contiguous properties east of Columbia Avenue that would reclaim a significant portion of the Cotton Gin site that is so important to the interpretation of the Battle of Franklin. When completed, the Cotton Gin park should comprise approximately five acres.

How much land has FC helped to preserve since 2005?

FC: Including the Cotton Gin park site, Franklin’s Charge has led the reclamation of approximately 120 acres of Civil War battlefield in Franklin.

What does a typical donation to FC look like?

FC: Gifts have been as small as a handful of change tossed in a jar to major donations of $100,000 over time. This does not include grants or pledges that have not yet been paid. Over the years, we have received hundreds of individual donations, large and small. Regardless of the amount, every gift counts and each donation allows us to get closer to our goal of battlefield reclamation.

What is the status of the negotiation with the Domino’s strip mall?

Active discussions are underway regarding the Domino’s strip mall, and contiguous properties have been purchased or pledged. The Cotton Gin park will comprise approximately five acres.

Click to enlarge

What is the time-frame goal for acquiring the Domino’s strip mall land and its related projected cost?

FC: Our goal is to have the Cotton Gin park completed no later than the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 2014. The total cost of the project, including land acquisition, rebuilding the structures and installing the interpretive earthworks, is projected to be approximately $3.2 million.

Click to enlarge

What is the value of even ‘small’ donations to FC?

FC: Small donations add up, but just as importantly, they represent grassroots support for our efforts. Folks from all over the nation have supported Franklin’s Charge, and they provide a means by which to attract national attention to the reclamation effort that’s happening in Franklin.

Why is historic land preservation important to FC and the Franklin community?

FC: Every property that Franklin’s Charge has acquired was thought to be forever lost to development, and that’s why what is taking place in Franklin is so important. People in Franklin have embraced heritage tourism as an economic engine, but we also have recognized the value of a better understanding of our history.

What is the importance of communities working together in alliance with other preservation groups and causes to reclaim lost land?

FC: Franklin’s Charge is a partnership of representatives from various preservation organizations, by design. Grassroots support is critical to any fund-raising effort, and all of the organizations involved help us broaden our reach.

Our member organizations include:

African-American Heritage Society

The Battle of Frankin Trust (Carnton and The Carter House)

Civil War Preservation Trust

Franklin Civil War Roundtable

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County

Land Trust for Tennessee

Save the Franklin Battlefield

Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area

Tennesee Civil War Preservation Association

Tennessee Department of Tourism

Tennessee Historical Commission

Tennessee Wars Commission

Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce

How has FC experienced success in reclamation efforts by thinking strategically, being focused, and finding one small win at a time?

FC: Franklin’s Charge started with an opportunity to reclaim the Eastern Flank – the Cotton Gin project is another opportunity to reclaim America’s Civil War battlefield in Franklin. We have been very fortunate to attract national attention and the support of national organizations, which has allowed us to continue to progress.

Memphis, Tennesse,

July 21, 1862,

“…as you know that I am in the service of the government, I need not inform you of that. I was sent down here with body of Illinois Artillery who we all mounted or ride on the gun carriages to be eased around large cities principly so as to move from one part to an other with rapidily and sweep the streets of hostile foes. This city the most imporant between St. Louis & New Orelans is now our Head Quarters and perhaps will be during the war. Our letters directed to Memphis company K. 2nd Reg. Artillery Care of Capt. Rogers are sent to the company Post Office and sent by the Orderly Sergeant to the tents of each one of the company. The troops which have been doing such hard fighting in middle Tennessee are now coming into this city. One train coming in today two blocks north of the park where our tents are set up, I should think must be as much as 20 miles long as it has been coming in since day light this morning till now 3 oclock and the end of the Train just now coming in all but 15 thousand cavalry which are behind those which have come in are Infantry & Artillery. When we first came this city a few days after the destruction of the Rebel Gun Boats, on the River, supposed to be contain there about 40,000 inhabitants and the Rebels then thratened to drive us out but since our Troops have been coming in so fast Secesh has been very still. There has been an order for a Regiment of Infantry and A Battery of Artillery to march through the principal parts of the city every night and morning. We marched around last night the windows, doors, and side matter were pretty well filled as we went through Union men showed it generally by their faces. I was in hopes, the Rebels would have laid down their arms and the war would have closed before this time, but do not know but they will have to be anhilated before they will give up. They say taht white men cannot work in this Southern climate perhaps they will be colonized and the Blacks kept at work here raising cotton to pay the expenses of the War….heard stories last night of the Union troops who came in yesterday of their burning 3 towns on their way from Corinth, Mississippi to this place and burned one fine house because the owner had cut down his well ropes and said the Yankees should have no water from his place. Our Illinois troops who came in yesterday were many without shoes, their pants worn of half way to their knees having been trhough battles of Fort Donelson & about Corinth but will draw clothing again…”

Source: Live Auctioneers online

July 2010
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Use the TN Civil War GIS Map with this site.



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