Battle of Franklin: Three Ohio Heroes vs. Two Ohio Rebels

There are a few examples of senior officers who fought in the Civil War for the “other side.”  For the Union, two prime examples were Virginians Winfield Scott and George Thomas.  The Confederate ranks included Pennsylvanian John Pemberton.

My book “Ohio Heroes of the Battle of Franklin,” outlines how three Generals, Jacob Cox, Emerson Opdycke, and Jack Casement, “saved the day” for the Union at a perilous moment on November 30, 1864.  Opposing them that day were two other Ohio Generals, Otho Strahl and Daniel Reynolds, but they fought for “the other side” as members of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Strahl and Reynolds were born in Ohio and were classmates at Ohio Wesleyan University, from which they both graduated.  They migrated South in the 1850’s, where they both studied law.  When the war began they were practicing lawyers, Strahl in Tennessee, Reynolds in Arkansas.  They were prominent citizens , and they decided to support the cause of rebellion.

Like many “citizen-soldiers,” they rose quickly through the ranks.  Strahl fought at many of the key western battles, including Shiloh, Perryville, Chickamauga, and the Atlanta campaign.  Reynolds fought in the Tullahoma campaign, Chickamauga, and Atlanta.

At Franklin Strahl was leading his men on foot near the front lines when he was hit by three bullets in the head,  He was one of six Confederate general officers to be killed that day as the Confederacy suffered a major body blow.  Reynolds was wounded at Franklin, but he was able to carry on through the Battle of Nashville, December 15-16, when the Army of Tennessee was obliterated.  He later lost a leg at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina.  After the war, he returned to Arkansas, where he became a prosperous lawyer and planter.

Below are images of Strahl and Reynolds and the battlefield at Franklin.  Strahl’s name can be seen near the front line, Reynolds’s further back on the right.

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Author: geneofva

Author of "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," and of the upcoming "Lincoln, Antietam, and a Northern Lost Cause."

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