Dear Friends of Sawyer Brown
Some of you may (or may not) know that for the last two years I have been the president of a non-profit, all volunteer preservation organization called Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc.
We have recently purchased our first piece of battlefield property. This has been a many month process, and now we are faced with the challenge of paying for it! I appreciate you taking the time to read the following, and if you should decide to help, I will be personally grateful to you. And if you cannot help, at least you know a bit more about what other 'hats' I wear when I'm 'offstage!!'
Thanks for your friendship and support,
SAVE THE FRANKLIN BATTLEFIELD, INC
P.O. Box 851
Franklin, Tennessee 37065
CONTACT: Joe Smyth, President
***Battlefield Land Purchased for Preservation at Franklin, Tennessee***
Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc. (STFB) announces the purchase of 3.22 acres of core battlefield at Franklin, Tennessee. The property, known today as Collins' Farm, is on the extreme Confederate right/Federal left and was the ground General W. W. Loring's Division
passed over as they climbed the railroad embankment and got entangled in the osage orange abatis in front of the Federal trenches.
During the war years, Collins' Farm was the home of the overseer of Historic Carnton Plantation, William Collins. The main part of the house was built about 1830, and added onto several times over the years. The property was recently rezoned for commercial development. The all-volunteer STFB group began an eight-month process of raising funds and constructing a purchase deal. The purchase was finalized June 15, 2001.
Donations and pledges totaling $21,000 were raised from within the Save The Franklin Battlefield membership, private donors, and from several Civil War roundtables including sizable gifts from the Capital District CWRT of Albany, New York, the Salt Creek CWRT of Wheaton, Illinois, and the San Diego (CA) CWRT. The Old Baldy CWRT of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the CWRT of North Worchester, Massachusetts also made donations.
These funds were then matched with $21,850 from Rob Hodge's Preservation 2000 project of dedicated reenactors from across the country, and the Central Virginia Preservation Trust. "This matching donation was the deal-closer," said STFB Treasurer Sam Huffman. "Without the generous assistance of Rob and his group, we would still be trying to make the puzzle pieces fit together." Danny Anderson of Shirley Zeitlin & Company negotiated the purchase, and Rick Moody of First Tennessee Bank secured the financing.
In the waning daylight of November 30, 1864, the assaulting forces of General Loring on the extreme Confederate right moved across the Collins' Farm property. During the approach, Loring's Division was fully exposed to two batteries of Federal artillery located near the railroad tracks on the Federal extreme left. Also, field guns positioned just east of Fort Granger had a clear field of fire into the Confederates east of the tracks. This terrible enfilade fire took a heavy toll on Loring's men as they approached the entrenched Federals.
Loring's three brigades crossed over Collins' Farm and charged in turn up over a 20-foot embankment to get across the railroad tracks. There they discovered that thick osage orange hedges along the tracks and lining Lewisburg Pike had been cut off at chest height and fashioned into a continuous abatis in front of the trenches, a heartbreaking and all but impenetrable barrier.
As Scott's, Featherston's, and finally Adam's brigades climbed up over the railroad tracks, they were scoured by musket fire from under the head-logs of the deeply entrenched Federals and by the main line batteries now firing double canister straight down the railroad tracks. The assault probably lasted less that an hour. There was little the assaulting forces could do but to shelter at the bottom of the railroad embankment until darkness allowed them to crawl farther south behind Collins' Farm.
It was here that Lt. General A. P. Stewart's Corps of the Army of Tennessee was dashed upon the Federal earthworks, causing Lieutenant William H. Berryhill of the 43rd Mississippi to lament, "I cannot see how any human being could live two moments in such a place."
This is the same ground where J. P. Cannon of the 27th Alabama reported, "The infantry opened up on us with terrible volleys, and it seemed as if not one of us could possibly escape from the storm of grape, canister, and minnie balls that poured into us. ...They enfiladed us at every shot, but we pressed on until...our single line had become so thinned and nearly every officer, from General Scott down, killed or disabled, that it seemed like madness to attempt to go further...."
Brig. General Jacob Cox of the 23rd Federal Corps remembered, "...the sharp, continuous, grinding rattle of the musketry combined with the cannon roar.... The fight here was bitter and stubborn."
After the battle, the house and the grounds around it were used as a hospital for hundreds of casualties. Although trees have grown up on the property, the topography of the 3.22 acres is essentially unchanged.
Save The Franklin Battlefield plans to interpret the Collins' Farm site with signage and to open the grounds to the public. The house has been rented to help pay down the debt amount. The property will be secured with an historic easement to finalize its preservation for future generations.
Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc. has two years to pay off the$200,000 interest only loan. An escrow account was established to guarantee the first few payments as fund raising gets ramped up. Fund raising plans include grant requests to national and governmental preservation groups, various local and regional events, and a 20 minute slide presentation that is available as a meeting program to Middle Tennessee service groups such as lodges, Rotary, American Legion, etc. "If you ever need a speaker for your service group, call us at (615) 500-6612," says Smyth. "'Have slide tray, will travel' is our motto."
"We simply could not sit back and expect to have some other national preservation group buy this property for us," said Smyth. "Our cost per acre here in Franklin is far above what rural battlefields cost, and we do recognize that those groups have to stretch their dollars. We do, however, hope and expect several preservation groups to help us to some extent. We want to add their names to the list of organizations and private citizens who have helped to rescue part of the Franklin Battlefield. When we all work together we can demonstrate that 'lost' battlefields do not have to remain forever lost."
Save The Franklin Battlefield asks you to include STFB in your giving plans for 2001-2003. Your employer may have a matching grant program that will multiply the effect of your gift - check with your HR department. Donations and pledges can be sent to Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc., PO Box 851, Franklin, Tennessee, 37065. STFB also welcomes and can electronically accept gifts of appreciated securities - contact Sam Huffman at (615) 370-3842 or email@example.com for an instruction sheet for your broker. For more information, call the STFB office at (615) 500-6612 or visit the STFB web site at http://www.franklin-stfb.org
Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc. is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization of volunteers dedicated to saving a portion of the Franklin Battlefield as a battlefield park. STFB works in close co-operation with local governments and local, county, state, and national historical organizations towards the preservation and development of the rich Civil War legacy in Williamson County, TN. The organization leads tours of local Civil War sites, provides speakers for various events, donates to land acquisition projects, erects historic battlefield markers, publishes a monthly newsletter, and maintains a web site. For more information, call the STFB office at (615) 500-6612 or visit their web site at http://www.franklin-stfb.org
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