Franklin Tennessee, Amazing Grace & Rabbits
Gen. Patrick Cleburne
Division Commander, Army of Tennessee
The distance was two miles, this hid the movement of what was taking place in front of the Union soldiers at Franklin. They waited behind strong breastworks just south of this small Tennessee town. The distance did not hide the sounds of men moving or the rattle of their equipment. Another sound whispered past the ears of these Union veterans. This sound put fear in their hearts for they knew the sound too well. It was the sound of Amazing Grace. They knew Cleburne's Division was before them "The Stonewall of The West", this division had never lost a fight. Cleburne always had his band play the tune after a battle, this in respect to the dead and dying.
This time it is thought he had his band play the tune before the battle as his death march. He must have known this would be his last advance. He even stated to D.C. Govan, a friend "Well Govan", if we must die, then let die like men!
Imagine if you will, eighteen Rebel Brigades, "30,000" men advancing across two mile of open fields, this with out artillery support ! The sulfur smoke laying close to the ground like a gray black cloud of death, this smoke burning the eyes and nostrils of the soldiers, there lips bleeding from tearing open cartridges. It was as if the very gates of hell had opened on them !....As the brave men advanced through knee high fall grass, they flushed rabbits before them. Rabbits were the first wave to reach the Union works. The carnage continued in to darkness for almost six hours!!
Gen. Hood lost eight thousand men at Franklin and six generals, one of them the greatest field commander of the War for Southern Independence " Patrick R. Cleburne." The Army of Tennessee would never be the winning army it had been, Hood had taken the fire from it. Hood did more damage to the AOT than any of the union armies!...Tommy PoP Aaron