Friday, January 28, 2022

'Hidden' in plain sight: Fort location on Franklin (Tenn.) Pike

The view looking northwest of Franklin Pike (State Route 31) from the location
 of a wartime fort. (CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
A view from below the fort location.
Another view from below fort location. Could these be wartime trenches? Must investigate.

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I recently explored the "hidden" location of a small Civil War fort along Franklin Pike (present-day State Route 31), a mile or so north of the square in Franklin, Tenn. The fort appears on two maps below—the first one is a cropped version of this map from the 9th Indiana Cavalry regimental history. The fort, designated by the "11," was unoccupied when the regiment fought north of Franklin on Dec. 17, 1864. On the second map, drawn by a Civil War veteran, the fort appears along the crease at the top middle. 

Thousands of U.S Army troops camped in the fields near this small fort during the war, as the second map below shows. It also shows the locations of headquarters, military and “contraband” camps and other nearby earthworks. Today those fields are occupied by houses, apartments, a park, retail, commercial … and a taco place Mrs. B is dying to visit. 

Fort Granger, a massive, earthen Union fort on the bluff above the Harpeth River, appears as that blob at the lower right of both maps. My Civil War pal Jack and I have explored the fort several times—I was even hypnotized there. It's worth your time to visit. If you really want to dig in, check out this doctoral dissertation,

Many “hidden” places like this small Franklin Pike fort remain throughout the Nashville area. So keep your eyes peeled. 😐

        GOOGLE STREET VIEW: Wartime fort location at left. Proceed south into Franklin.
Cropped enlargement of a map from 9th Indiana Cavalry regimental history shows outskirts
 of Franklin and death sites of three officers in the regiment in a battle on Dec. 17, 1864.
Map from parking lot historical marker at Fort Granger in Franklin, Tenn.
(Boyd Family Papers | Bancroft Library | University of California-Berkeley)

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  1. John, it seems you've done it again. Excellent piece of research and discovery. I'm definitely there in spirit! I'd love to know if any of those depressions in the two photos are the remains of trenches(?).




    1. Rob: Thanks for kind words. The depressions apparently are work of farmers, but they merit more research. Be well. Cold here. 19 degrees (F) this morning. JB