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[260] north, were three prominent hills, giving excellent elevations for batteries, and commanding a broad plain that lay in front of the town. These were utilized by the Federals. To the south were low ridges on which an attacking party might entrench.

Schofield had not expected to give battle at Franklin. He was hurrying his men to reach the protecting entrenchments of Nashville. But he would not be taken unawares. Though his men had marched and fought by turns for a week, by day and night, until they were on the point of exhaustion, yet the tired and hungry troops, before they had prepared their morning meal, laid down the musket and took up the spade. Soon entrenchments stretched along on two sides of the town. Batteries of artillery were placed at the front and in the rear, guarding the lines of probable attack. To this protecting haven, the weary regiments, one by one, filed, until, by noon, the last one had safely found its way to the entrenched walls of Franklin. The wagon trains passed over the Harpeth and the troops would soon follow after. But this was not to be. Even then, the Confederate vanguard was close at hand.

It was a glorious Indian summer afternoon. For two hours the Federal troops had been looking through the hazy atmosphere to the eastward hills. The day was already beginning to wane, when from the wooded ridge there emerged the stately columns of the army of Hood. On a rise in front of the Union lines stood Wagner's two brigades, in uniforms of blue. They were stationed, unsupported, directly in front of the Confederate approach. It was evident that “some one had blundered.” But there they stood, waiting for the impact of the line in gray. A concentrated roar of musketry burst forth and they were engulfed in the on-sweeping torrent.

The Confederate ranks plunged on, carrying the helpless brigades along. With tremendous momentum they rushed toward the works. The guns along the Federal line were silent. They dare not fire on their own routed men. The weight of the oncoming mass of humanity broke through the first line of

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John M. Schofield (2)
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