By Jason Gavin, Special Collections Librarian
While you are in the library during the sesquicentennial celebrations, take a moment to stop by the Williamson Room, located in the Special Collections Department on the second floor. With floor to ceiling windows on three sides of the room, you will be standing right in the heart of where the Battle of Franklin occurred. Facing southwest from this room, you will be looking toward the two miles over which the Confederates advanced from Winstead Hill, completely exposed to enemy fire. Facing northeast, you will be about 500 feet from the position of the Union embankments. From this idyllic spot overlooking Columbia Avenue, it’s hard to imagine that by the end of the day on November 30, 1864, you would be looking over some 10,000 casualties, over 6,000 of which were Confederate – including 6 killed or mortally wounded generals.
There are several new markers displayed in the room commemorating the Battle, as well as an original 1878 map of the battlefield, portraits of the fallen Confederate generals with accounts of their final rolls in the terrible battle. Several pre-1900 first edition books relating to the Battle of Franklin from the Col. John L. Jordan collection are on display as well. It is worth the visit for the beautiful view and a quiet moment of reflection on the scope and toll of the terrible battle that occurred here 150 years ago.
Academy Park Press, an imprint of Williamson County Public Library, is proud to announce the release of its second book Bullets and Bayonets: A Battle of Franklin Primer, which is a sesquicentennial project of the Battle of Franklin especially for youth. The project was a collaborative creation by library staff, with text written and compiled by Leesa Harmon and Julie Duke, and by historian Lawrence C. Duke.
November 30, 2014, marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Franklin. The battle, dubbed the ‘Gettysburg of the West’, lasted only five hours, but more soldiers were killed in that time than during any other battle of the Civil War. Six Confederate generals were killed, and the entire town of Franklin became a hospital for the wounded. “Bullets and Bayonets” tells the story of the Battle of Franklin in the words of the participants. Soldiers and citizens bear witness to what they observed, experienced and felt about a battle that forever changed the lives of all who were there.
On Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 2 to 4 pm, the Library is celebrating the release of the book and copies will be available for purchase. Including in the “drop-in” program is President Abraham Lincoln who will give the Gettysburg Address at 2:30 pm. Local Civil War re-enactors, including General Ulysses S. Grant, will be in period dress, and Civil War artifacts will be on display, including a “hands on” traveling trunk from the Tennessee State Museum.
Your signed copies will make wonderful holiday gifts! Bring the whole family to this free special event.
We are pleased to reveal the cover of Academy Park Press’s next book. It is a primer on the Battle of Franklin that we believe will assist 4th and 5th graders in learning about it. We are especially excited about this book because, not only will it be published by the library’s imprint, but it is also created completely by library employees!