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Franklin, TN

 Franklin, TN

Buddy Secor

Conference Tours

2023 Annual Conference Tour Descriptions
American Battlefield Trust Event
May 18 - 21, 2023

Franklin, TN

Color Bearer Tours

The Battle of Franklin: We are Marching to Certain Ruin with Dan Davis & Eric Jacobson

Join the Trust’s Senior Education Manager, Dan Davis, and Battle of Franklin Trust CEO Eric A. Jacobson as we explore the Battle of Franklin. We’ll visit the Carnton Plantation, the Carter House and other sites related to one of the most tragic days of the Civil War. Following the fall of Atlanta, Gen. John B. Hood attempted to draw William Tecumseh Sherman back into North Georgia. When Sherman didn’t take the bait, Hood resolved to launch an invasion of Tennessee. Hood’s army moved into the state around the middle of November and set his sights on the Union stronghold at Nashville. He managed to outflank Gen. John Schofield at Columbia; however, he missed an opportunity to strike a decisive blow on his opponent at Spring Hill and the Federals withdrew toward Franklin. Determined to attack Schofield before he reached the safety of the Nashville defenses, Hood launched a grand assault late on the afternoon of November 30, 1864. Approximately one mile of walking on paved and relatively level surfaces will be involved, and some stairs.
 

Following in the Photographers Footsteps at Nashville with Garry Adelman 

Some of the coolest, grittiest, and most impactful images of the war were recorded in Nashville, and while the city’s sprawling development has obscured some of the historic viewsheds, opportunities still abound to see Music City as it looked before Civil War’s end!  Join the Trust’s chief historian, Garry Adelman, as we visit as many historic photo locations as we can and try to step into the past at a place near the site of one of the most lopsided battles of the war. Approximately one mile of walking on paved surfaces will be involved, but please note that at least two hills will have to be surmounted with the likelihood of some stairs.
 

Stones River with Jim Lewis 

Join Park Ranger Jim Lewis for tour focusing on the critical events that played out on the left flank of the Union army's lines during the Battle of Stones River. We will begin with a walk-through part of Hell's Half Acre where Col. William B. Hazen's brigade fought off four waves of Confederate attacks on December 31, 1862. The tour will shift to 42 acres recently saved by the American Battlefield Trust. The last Confederate attempts to break the Union lines raged here during the late afternoon of December 31st. We will conclude with a stop along the banks of the Stones River where 57 Union cannons decimated the final Confederate assault of the battle. Approximately one mile of walking on paved and unpaved surfaces will be involved. Uneven terrain can be expected in Hell’s Half Acre, and a small hill at the final assault stop.
 

Friday Tours

The Battles of Spring Hill and Franklin: Hostiles, Houses, and Hallowed Ground with Garry Adelman and Eric Jacobson 

Join Eric Jacobson and Garry Adelman for a meaningful, fun, and energetic exploration of the movements and missteps at Spring Hill and the men and memory at Franklin.  Attack and defense, soldier stories, critical structures, old pictures, and of course the battlefield preservation we have been able to accomplish with local partners will highlight the tour.  Expect moderate walking of up to ½ mile at a time on a mix of hard and grassy surfaces. 
 

Touring Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage: A Visit with Old Hickory with Dan Davis

In the summer of 1804 former attorney Andrew Jackson purchased a 420-acre tract of land about ten miles from Nashville. For the often-embattled Jackson, it became a place of solitude that he called home until his death forty-one years later. He returned there in triumph following his victory over the British at New Orleans during the War of 1812 and after serving his country after two terms in the White House. From 1819 to 1821, Jackson oversaw construction of a mansion on the property. Known as the Hermitage, it became one of the most iconic homes in the United States. Join the Trust’s Senior Education Manager, Dan Davis, as we explore the grounds where Andrew Jackson once strode. We’ll walk through the museum exhibits, including Born for a Storm, visit Jackson’s grave and that of his beloved wife, Rachel, and tour the mansion of the People’s President. Expect less than a mile of walking around the ground, with some standing.
 

Stones River with Jim Lewis  

Spend the day with Park Ranger Jim Lewis for a tour that covers the breadth and scope of the Civil War in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In addition to visiting sites where the Battle of Stones River raged, we will cover the ground that saw fighting during the other two Battles of Murfreesboro: the July 13, 1862, Raid and the Battle of the Cedars (December 7, 1862). We will also visit the remnants of Fortress Rosecrans and learn about life in occupied Murfreesboro and how the Battle of Stones River affected later military campaigns. Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on paved and unpaved surfaces will be involved. Uneven terrain can be expected in Hell’s Half Acre, and small rolling hills can be expected at some other stops.
 

Colorful Confederate Leaders of the Western Theater with Kris White and Chris Mackowski 

Spend some time with some of the Western Theater’s most colorful Confederate characters. We’ll visit sites from Franklin to Columbia that tie into some fascinating figures from the war: Cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest (including a statue to one of his horses), Richard Ewell (who retired to Spring Hill), Earl Van Dorn (killed by his lover's jealous husband), John Bell Hood, Patrick Cleburne, the Polk family (including Lucius, buried in a beautiful churchyard), and even memoirist Sam Watkins (buried in Columbia). Expect a lot of fun, humor, and snark as we discuss and debate the pros and cons of these colorful characters—giving you much to consider and, we hope, reconsider. Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on paved and unpaved surfaces will be involved. Expect more standing than walking as we explore the lives of our cast of characters.
 

"I Shall Attack the Enemy Again Tomorrow" Civil War Nashville with Lee White

In February of 1862, the city of Nashville, Tennessee, was the first Confederate state capital to fall to Federal forces, but its Civil War story doesn’t end there. From a Union supply base to the imposing Fort Negley, to the December 1864 Battle of Nashville, the Music City played an integral role in the battle for Tennessee. Join author and historian Lee White for a look at Civil War Nashville. Expect 1.5 miles of walking, with a steep climb up Shy’s Hill.
 

Battle of Parker’s Cross Roads  

“Charge’em both ways! Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Great Escape “Join the Staff of Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Association to visit one of the best-interpreted battlefields you have never heard of—Parker’s Cross Roads. On December 31, 1862, as General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s expedition into West Tennessee neared its conclusion, Union forces closed in and attempted to bag Forrest and his men. It was here, during five desperate hours of fighting that Forrest uttered the famous phrase, “Charge’em both ways!”  Follow the Federal line along the split rail fence, an area that received heavy artillery fire so intense one soldier reported that the fence rails were wounding and killing more men than the exploding shells.  Visit the area where the Confederates managed to enfilade the Union line and walk the ground where Forrest’s cavalry flanked the troops under Col. Cyrus L. Dunham on three sides.  And learn how Forrest was nearly bagged but lived to fight another day. This tour will be conducted on paved trails where the walking is relatively easy. Expect two miles of walking along mostly level trails with shaded benches along the way.
 

Saturday Tours

The Last Days of Patrick Cleburne with Sarah Kay Bierle  

The Battle of Franklin fatefully ended Confederate General Patrick Cleburne's life. But what happened in those final days and moments? This tour focuses on Cleburne's life and leadership while visiting sites related to his decisions and final actions. How did the past experiences of his life and other Civil War battles lead to the moment and the resolute quote "let us die like men?" This tour will allow you to re-examine Cleburne's life story while walking and viewing parts of Franklin battlefield and other related sites. Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on paved and unpaved surfaces will be involved.
 

Stones River with Will Greene 

"Mayhem at Murfreesboro: The Battle of Stones River."  William Starke Rosecrans, the new commander of what he would rename the Army of the Cumberland, met Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee in a fierce three-day engagement along the banks of Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  The battle spanned the new year, beginning on December 31,1862 and ending on January 2, 1863.  Our tour will visit key points of this historic battleground both in and outside the boundaries of Stones River National Battlefield.  This will not be a walking-intensive tour, as our stops will involve short walks on level ground.
 

The Affair at Spring Hill with Chris Mackowski and Joseph Ricci 

When the Federal army boldly marched past Confederate forces at Spring Hill, Tennessee, in the dead of night on November 29, 1864, it not only set up the following day's battle of Franklin, it deprived Confederates of perhaps their last, best hope for changing their fading fortunes. Ever after, the "lost opportunity" at Spring Hill has tantalized Civil War aficionados as one of the great What-Ifs of the war. Why does the affair at Spring Hill continue to fascinate people?  Walk the ground to better understand the story and consider for yourself whether Spring Hill was a lost opportunity or whether it would matter at all. Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on paved, unpaved, and grassy surfaces will be involved.
 

Union Cavalry in the 1864 Tennessee Campaign with Dan Davis 

“I Shall Ever Remember Their Gallant Conduct” In October 1864 Gen. James Wilson was appointed to command the cavalry in William T. Sherman’s Military Division of the Mississippi. A protégé of Ulysses S. Grant, Wilson faced a monumental task of reorganizing Sherman’s horsemen, one he called “a task worthy of any young soldier’s highest ambition”. Wilson also had to contend with the more immediate threat of a Confederate offensive. As autumn faded into winter, his troopers stood poised to play a critical role in one of the closing chapters of the war. Join the Trust’s Senior Education Manager, Dan Davis, as explore the role and actions of Wilson’s troopers. We’ll visit Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville and other sites related to the campaign that decided the fate of Tennessee. Approximately 1.5 miles of walking on paved, unpaved, and grassy surfaces will be involved.

“I Shall Attack the Enemy Again Tomorrow,” Civil War Nashville with Lee White 

In February of 1862, the city of Nashville, Tennessee, was the first Confederate state capital to fall to Federal forces, but its Civil War story doesn’t end there. From a Union supply base to the imposing Fort Negley, to the December 1864 Battle of Nashville, the Music City played an integral role in the battle for Tennessee. Join author and historian Lee White for a look at Civil War Nashville. Expect 1.5 miles of walking, with a steep climb up Shy’s Hill.
 

Homes, Museums and More

Description Coming Soon.  This will NOT be an intensive walking tour, but there may be stairs at some of the historic homes.