Last night I had a dream.
When I looked to my left, I could see a long line of Confederate infantry stretching as far as I could see. When I looked to my right, it was the same. In front of us were what appeared to be a very strong line of Federal works. Our rifles were loaded, bayonets fixed. I heard a single cannon shot. Then we received the order to advance.
From somewhere behind, I heard the band playing. The sound seemed somewhat out of place. The strains of "Dixie" floated through the air. The only other sound was the steady tread of our feet. The earth shook with the sound of 20,000 footsteps. In front of us, there was nothing but open ground between us and the enemy. As we marched, scared animals darted in front of us towards the Yankees. Our battle lines were bathed in a sea of red as our flags marked the place of each under sized regiment making the attack.
So many were gone. The blood of our comrades stained dozens of fields from Shiloh to Chickamauga and from Perryville to Murfreesboro. Those of us who remained did so, not out of any dedication to a cause, but out of dedication to one another. Gone were the cheerful days in which we marched off to war, thinking one Southerner worth ten Yankees. Instead, we discovered that these Yankees could put up one hell of a fight. They had gotten the better of us on numerous days, but this day would be different.
The bands began to play "The Girl I Left Behind Me" as we continued to move forward. Perhaps that was a fitting song for the occasion. Given the strength of the Federal works, it looked as though lots of us would leave wives and sweethearts behind by the time the sun finally set. In front of us we could see the advance line of the Federal troops. They were in a precarious position, but we also knew what lay behind them.
The order was given to charge bayonets! The Rebel yelled sounded from thousands of throats as our line surged forward. As we did, the bands, their notes still audible over the sounds of the battlefield, began to play "The Bonnie Blue Flag." We were close enough to make out the faces of our Northern opponents. Many looked scared, uncertain as to what to do their officers yelling orders for them to hold fast. They leveled their rifles and then all hell exploded in our faces.
Today, Dear Readers, marks the 149th Anniversary of the Battle of Franklin. 20,000 men of the Army of Tennessee made that brave, ill advised, and oft forgotten charge on that beautiful November afternoon. Over 6,000 of them would be killed or wounded by the time the smoke cleared.
On this, the anniversary of the battle, let us never forget the brave men who made the charge, nor the equally brave men who opposed it.
My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Civil War Addict.
Postscript: My ancestors were with the following regiments in this fight:
1st Louisiana Infantry
10 Texas Cavalry (dismounted)
14th Texas Cavalry (dismounted)
33rd Alabama Infantry
24th Texas Cavalry (dismounted)
1st Tennessee Infantry
48th Tennessee Infantry
9th Tennessee Cavalry
19th Tennessee Cavalry