November 25, 1864
All indications were that there was to be a massive battle – in Columbia, Tennessee. At the time, Columbia was a much larger and wealthier place than Franklin, positioned well on rail and road lines, and astride the navigable Duck River.
It was here that the armies of Union general John Schofield and Confederate commander John Bell Hood stared each other down for nearly three days. Both sides were near peak strength, able to concentrate their artillery, infantry, and cavalry as each force waited for the other to move. As it turned out, the Federals moved first, backwards. Schofield decided to retreat into Nashville, the second most fortified Union stronghold in the war.
Little did either commander know, bridges across the Harpeth River in Franklin had been destroyed. As fate would have it, this roadblock would cause both armies to stop just long enough to tear each other apart on November 30, 1864.