On November 24, 1864, the Union fended off John Bell Hood’s first attempt to flank their forces during the first battle of the Franklin-Nashville campaign at Columbia, TN. The Union forces, the 4th and 23rd corps, commanded by John Schofield, had been stationed at Pulaski, TN to fend off Hood’s advance from Alabama. Hood, with a well-established reputation for aggressiveness, instead tried to get around the Union forces, aiming at Columbia. The rebel advance was led by none other than Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry, and only a sprinkling of Union troops were in the city as Forrest and Hood’s infantry advanced.
To meet the challenge, Schofield sent his trusted deputy General Jacob Cox along with elements of the two corps to fend off the rebel attack. They arrived in a timely fashion, easily brushing away Forrest’s advance force and then defeating the rebel infantry who made it to the city that day. Cox’s efforts were aided ably by 4th corps division commander General George Wagner. This was the first time that these two men had fought alongside one another, and Cox gained a very positive impression of Wagner’s abilities. That proved to be an important factor in the days to come of this campaign.
More tomorrow about the next battles in the campaign, but for now, images of Wagner, Cox, and the campaign. Also of my book on the campaign, “Ohio Heroes of the Battle of Franklin.”