Book Chat
For Cause & For Country
A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin
Eric A. Jacobson and Richard A. Rupp

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 03/11/07 and covered Chapters 9, 10, 11, and 12. 

3/11/2007 8:08 pm (et) Basecat: Welcome to the Sunday Night Book Chat. Tonight is the final discussion on Eric Jacobson's For Cause & For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. Tonight we will be chatting about the last remaining chapters of the narrative.

3/11/2007 8:09 pm (et) Basecat: Any thoughts/comments/questions on Chapter 9?

3/11/2007 8:10 pm (et) Basecat: To me the title of the chapter sums up what many who survived the battle must have been thinking. I thought I knew what fighting was.

3/11/2007 8:12 pm (et) Basecat: The reading reminded me once again about how terrain and landscape effected all battles in the Civil War, and in this case at Franklin was a pronounced factor in the final outcome.

3/11/2007 8:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I will never think of Civil War combat the same way again. I found these last chapters emotionally draining to read. I can only imagine what they must have been like to write, and I can't imagine what it must have been like to live, or die, through them.

3/11/2007 8:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Plus a little time to prepare defenses from only immediately available materials.

3/11/2007 8:13 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Thought the same here, and it reminded me of watching the CW Journal episode on the Battle...That was tough to watch and still sticks with me, and was the best episode they did on the series.

3/11/2007 8:14 pm (et) mobile_96: I agree with you amhg, have read some 'terrible views' of battle, but nothing like for Franklin.

3/11/2007 8:16 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Left me with a great desire to read more about Hood.

3/11/2007 8:16 pm (et) Basecat: Will just say this...Pickett's Charge is talked about a lot more frequently and was a horrible event for those involved, but the charges at Franklin were even worse, and thought Eric did a fine job in capturing what took place.

3/11/2007 8:16 pm (et) Basecat: amhg..Hood does need a new biography IMHO...

3/11/2007 8:18 pm (et) amhistoryguy: At one point after reading the first hand accounts of the battle, how could these survivors ever go into battle again, having seen what they saw.

3/11/2007 8:18 pm (et) mobile_96: Good idea Base, I've been considering starting his book.

3/11/2007 8:19 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Am with you on that...Hard for me to imagine ever wanting to fight again had I survived that. Was thinking of PHP when reading about the Floridian's who found themselves stuck in the Ravine...Very hard to read about.

3/11/2007 8:21 pm (et) Basecat: Mobile...Am gonna pick up a copy of his memoirs here eventually...Have avoided doing so because folks keep telling me how he embellished etc..but think it would be best to read it and make up my own mind on his account.

3/11/2007 8:22 pm (et) mobile_96: You're right on that point.

3/11/2007 8:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I always try to keep in the back of my mind, that what a person DOES is far more telling than what he says or what others say about him. That said, what Hood says about himself should still be weighed against what he did.

3/11/2007 8:23 pm (et) Basecat: Wanted to add this point as well...For a long time I have wondered why the city of Franklin has not done a better job with preserving the battlefield, and now I can understand why ...If I lived there, especially during the battle, I would not want to remember what had happened...I would rather forget.

3/11/2007 8:24 pm (et) Basecat: IIRC, McMurry had a bio. out on Hood a few years ago, but it is a tough book to find, and ain't all that cheap either.

3/11/2007 8:24 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I would want to do everything I could to forget, including changing the landscape.

3/11/2007 8:25 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...which hit me while reading that today...Understand them a lot better now, and have learned a valuable lesson.

3/11/2007 8:27 pm (et) Basecat: John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence is the title of the McMurry book. Have yet to even see a copy of it on sale on eBay.

3/11/2007 8:27 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Events at Franklin go beyond Northern or Southern leanings. If you are human, it is painful to read about.

3/11/2007 8:28 pm (et) amhistoryguy: What a waste.

3/11/2007 8:28 pm (et) Basecat: I guess I am human...Surprising ain't it? ;)

3/11/2007 8:29 pm (et) Basecat: That's the word amhg...Kept running thru my mind while reading a lot of shaking my head here.

3/11/2007 8:29 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Jury is still out : )

3/11/2007 8:29 pm (et) Basecat: :) Good point..;)

3/11/2007 8:31 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I usually make notes as I read. I could not for these chapters, thus my rambling.

3/11/2007 8:31 pm (et) mobile_96: wonder if Hood should have been tried for Franklin, instead of just being allowed to resign

3/11/2007 8:32 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Why could no one stand up to Hood and say, "Are you crazy?"

3/11/2007 8:32 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Or, "I refuse !"

3/11/2007 8:33 pm (et) Basecat: I don't think he should have been tried...Lee made a lot of dumb attacks here in the East, and yet is still the beloved icon of the Confederacy... I would have fired him though after word got out about the defeat. No way he should have continued to be in charge after this battle...

3/11/2007 8:34 pm (et) mobile_96: Well, he quit before he could be fired.

3/11/2007 8:35 pm (et) ks: Quick comment in that I agree the sense of futility was profound while reading. What kind of honor or adherence to blind obedience was in play to see so clearly the expected outcome yet follow orders? Tough to read....

3/11/2007 8:35 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...That's something about this war. Many battles everyone knew most of the attack orders were in point the carnage at Fredericksburg...but yet these guys still went in and obeyed these crazy orders. Hard thing for me to figure out.

3/11/2007 8:36 pm (et) amhistoryguy: With the loss of 68 field officers, how would you like to have heard, "Lt, you've just been promoted to Col. - move your men into line"

3/11/2007 8:37 pm (et) Basecat: ks..I just don't understand it...Guess it was different attitudes back then, but I can't figure it out.

3/11/2007 8:37 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It's an area that fascinates me. These men had a unique quality that we have lost somewhere along the line.

3/11/2007 8:38 pm (et) Basecat: amhg..I don't think we have lost that quality, but I do think that quality does not last as long today...if that makes any sense.

3/11/2007 8:38 pm (et) amhistoryguy: They believed that they made a difference. Duty, had a different hold on them, maybe because they were side by side with friends and neighbors?

3/11/2007 8:39 pm (et) mobile_96: Probably had some to do with it amhg.

3/11/2007 8:39 pm (et) Basecat: amhg..I agree with Mobile had a lot to do with it...

3/11/2007 8:40 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Today we tend to look at things with an eye to - what's in it for me. Maybe I'm too cynical.

3/11/2007 8:41 pm (et) amhistoryguy: While there was honor in the way those men went to their deaths, there certainly, IMO, was no glory.

3/11/2007 8:41 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Am just as cynical, and I do think that is the case nowadays...

3/11/2007 8:42 pm (et) amhistoryguy: How did Hood live with himself afterwards? Maybe he read his own biography - maybe that's why he wrote it, so he could live with himself.

3/11/2007 8:43 pm (et) Basecat: Sad thing about that is yes we honor those and know about those who died in that war, but a lot of this country has no clue about the sacrifice...I think that bothers me even more than anything else especially when folks keep asking me why I go to battlefields all the time...

3/11/2007 8:43 pm (et) ks: Not sounding cynical to me, AHG. Seems accurate.

3/11/2007 8:44 pm (et) amhistoryguy: EVERYONE should read those chapters on the battle at Franklin.

3/11/2007 8:45 pm (et) mobile_96: Not sure everyone could get thru them, I know I had a hard time

3/11/2007 8:46 pm (et) ole: logs off.

3/11/2007 8:47 pm (et) Basecat: I agree amhg, and I truly wish Eric could have joined us tonight, as I thought his wrap up chapters were integral to the whole story of Franklin, especially the last paragraph of the narrative... Am sure those of us who attend muster in June will be very contemplative as we stand on the grounds of the Carter House.

3/11/2007 8:47 pm (et) ks: That makes a lot of sense, AHG. Perhaps it was (at least in part) written to justify to self as well as the world his decisions.

3/11/2007 8:47 pm (et) amhistoryguy: And after they catch their breath, they might take a moment to reflect on the meaning of sacrifice.

3/11/2007 8:50 pm (et) Basecat: Moscow Carter is an interesting part of the story...and how he dealt with the aftermath of the battle...Liked the part how he tore down the works, and altered the property to return to some sense of normalcy.

3/11/2007 8:52 pm (et) Basecat: Imagine something like that happening in your front yard...Harder to even imagine if you could ever be normal after that again.

3/11/2007 8:52 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I wanted to ask Eric if there was any record of the clean up of weapons left on the field, similar to the one for Gettysburg. Numbers of rifles, loaded with one round, two rounds etc.

3/11/2007 8:52 pm (et) ks: That front yard would be haunted or at least haunting.

3/11/2007 8:53 pm (et) Basecat: amhg...Am sure when we hit the Carter House, they would have that info.

3/11/2007 8:53 pm (et) mobile_96: Anywhere around the house KS.

3/11/2007 8:53 pm (et) amhistoryguy: You'd be finding "things" for years.

3/11/2007 8:54 pm (et) Basecat: and I bet there is still stuff that has yet to be "found".

3/11/2007 8:57 pm (et) ks: Oh, absolutely, mobile. Was just relating "front yard" to Base's comments.

3/11/2007 8:59 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Just thinking how close the battle came to the end of the war.

3/11/2007 8:59 pm (et) amhistoryguy: A lot of boys almost made it home. Really sad.

3/11/2007 8:59 pm (et) Basecat: I have nothing else to add here, but just the fact that the reading wore me out today...which is not a bad thing, as it reminded me quite a bit of the importance of our history and those who came before us. Also know that this Muster will be for me important, as it is the first time I will be able to see for myself the land where the central part of the battle took place...I'm glad we decided to choose this book for the book chat, and it has been an excellent prep for what we will be seeing in TN in a few months.. I applaud Eric and his co-author Richard Rupp for adding to our learning of the American Civil War.

3/11/2007 9:00 pm (et) mobile_96: My RT had a speaker on the 36th IL., which was in Opdycke's Brigade, and said there were 6 generals on the back porch and 13 charges in the battle. Bet he'd be surprised as Eric's research showing only 5 generals but possibly 7 body's there

3/11/2007 9:01 pm (et) amhistoryguy: 36th IL was with Lytle's Brigade a Chickamauga. My 11th Battery boys had a section on either side of them at Lytle Hill.

3/11/2007 9:02 pm (et) mobile_96: Over the next couple wks, think I'm going to read some of the references from Confederate Veteran shown in the notes.