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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  December 21, 2016 8:45pm-9:46pm EST

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tributes for outgoing members of congress and the white house. at 12:30 p.m. eastern with senator barbara mikulski of maryland and vice president john biden. then christmas at the white house. join first lady michelle obama as she receives the official white house christmas tree. tour the white house and see this year's decorations. make christmas crafting projects with children of military families visiting the white house. and finally, the tree lighting ceremony on the national mall. at 8:40 p.m., hear from former house speaker john boehner on the trump presidency and his time in the congress. and at 9:40 p.m., attend the portrait unveiling of outgoing senator minority leader harry reid, democrat of never neve. speakers include hillary clinton, joe biden and charles schumer. on sunday at 12:30 p.m., we'll hear from retiring member of congress representative charles rangel of new york.
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at 2:10 p.m. from the shakespeare theater on capitol hill, to the romeo and juliet wrongful death mock trial where supreme court associate justice samuel alito serves as presiding judge. and a look at the career of vice president-elect mike pence. watch on c-span and and on the free c-span app. up next, national park service ranger lee white talks about the confederate army of tennessee's failed assault at the battle of franklin. in november 1864, after union general william sherm captured atlanta and began his march toward the sea, confederate general john bell hood engaged his rear forces on the way to nashville. this talk was sponsored by the emerging civil war blog and is about an hour. >> it is my pleasure now to
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introduce from the fields of chickamauga in chattanooga, my friend lee white. lee has been with the park service since 2000. he's been down there at chickamauga chattanooga longer than that. we can say lee has spent his whole life on the battlefield because he was born at a hospital that sits on the battlefield grounds or sat on the battlefield grounds. this man is deeply routed in that park. like many of us, he also has his own passion parks that reach beyond the boundaries of his daily work life. lee's heart is -- rests in franklin and it is broken in franklin. he's finishing up work on a book for the emerging civil war series about franklin. earlier this afternoon, steve davis talked about the rise of john bell hood in charge of the army out west. we're going to talk about the beginning of the fall of that very same army with john bell hood. ladies and gentlemen, mr. lee white.
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[ applause ] >> chris said chickamauga. i've got a special connection there. that's one of the reasons why i did the little book "bushwhacking on a grand scale" to tell that story. but it's through that battle that my time there volunteering at chickamauga that i became familiar with the general patrick cleburne. and very early on in my career, in fact, my first really big civil war book was a biography of pat cleburne that i saved up from when we first filmed the movie for the park. we got paid $50, the extras did. i used my $50 to buy two books on patrick cleburne. and it's through that story cleburne's story ends at franklin. and so i've kind of been interested in it ever since. and indeed, during the 150th anniversary cycle, i went to as many 150th programs as i could. especially enjoying the time
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around here at fredericksburg. but one of the top experiences of my life was when i went to franklin for the 150th on the actual date, november 30th of 2014. i was there, and i found out that ed bars was in town and was going to be part of the commemorative march they do every year marching two miles over the ground that hood's army attacked at franklin. and having my living history stuff in the trunk of my car i'm like, hold on a minute. jumping in my car, hopped in it and this picture is at the end. those of you who know ed and have been with ed, it was truly amazing experience. i've heard ed talk and seen ed many times. but following him, literally, him about five paces in front of me, watching him outpace men who not half his age but, you know, so much younger than him. it was just a truly amazing experience. it's another little thing with franklin that has connected me.
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but one of my -- the things that i have always been real keen on was the soldiers. the common soldier. and i think franklin really plays that out. chickamauga >> as it would have appeared in the fall of 1864 when this campaign kicks off. we're talking about a battle in middle tennessee. why should that interest you? i'll give you a reason. here's a bunch of them right here. the rest of the story. these are all commanders that all have connections with this
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area of virginia you got ruger and you got james wilson and jacob cox here. who will be one of the confederate generals to die who was on the staff at first monases and then 183rd. a brand new regimen. yeah they're still bringing in troops that late in the war. 183rd ohio but just a few miles west of here. cedar mountain is one of the soldiers there. a member of the 7th ohio.
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before his unit transfers west and here, chris mentioned him earlier, old allegheny johnson. goes off to a prisoner of war camp and gets turned back when he is released and he is transferred to the army of tennessee. commands a division there in the battle of franklin. so this is the rest of the story with local connections here in virginia. when you really study it was brought upcoming into command, franklin is kind of tragic. he tried.
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he really did. some of it is partially the army that he commands. they were back stabbing and fighting. they spent more time fighting among themselves than they do fighting the other side in the war. general hood should have known this and sometimes he expects the army to work like lee's army does and it doesn't he states he is a man of the lee and jackson school which i think he lee an school which i think he demonstrated. he tries to pull these things off but he just can't do it. another thing with hood is hood's army is unwealdy.
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he does not have any veteran commanders. he is the senior core commander in command since june of 1864. this campaign kicks off in september. the campaign opens in september he has the major general commanding his third and after the fall of atlanta he has it. it says he goes or i go and he steps in and transferred him out of the army and so the high command is new and suffering from within the lower levels. the campaign had seen a slow
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bleeding of the army of tennessee's junior officers. the war was changing as the campaign began just as it was changing in georgia too. they are preparing to fight a war but it's different. trench warfare is coming in. preponderance of union rifled artillery. sharp shooters and repeating weapons. these are all starting to change the face of the war. by the end of may, 1864, i could really say, i think the soldiers would not have recognized the year before. and he has the army. he now has to contend with new officers as far as core commanders that are not necessarily geling together either.
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i use this quite often when i talk about those going there and the bad luck the army of tennessee has. they just have bad luck. every time they're going to get to kick the football. the football gets yanked out from under them. also the leader of the army. he's a self-serving little guy. and with the battle of franklin he is not so much the guy in charge of the army. he kind of brings it there and he is worried about trying to
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get out of franklin. general jacob cox and others that will actually do the defense. david stanley until he gets shot but also this talk is about great attacks. so not necessarily a defense so we won't spend a whole lot of time. but we'll talk about the men that will fight this and hood's men will be facing and then of course the men that john bell hood actually commands veteran soldiers of the army in tennessee as ill stlated here. this common soldier is one of the big things that interest me and it's a little play on words.
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and that's not really me. mine is on november 30th on the afternoon there waiting for the army of tennessee's great attack. it was a horrific fight. lots of tragedy and drama and it all plays out there. some of the worst fighting of war. being toward the very end the causalities here particularly of note. when you look at them on face value, it suffers under 7,000 causalities. but that's out of a key thing of that number, 28% are dead. gettysburg was closer to 20% dead. 28% more men die as a result of the battle of franklin than died
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at shiloh. for the two days of fighting there. also end up with 702 men captured that had moved into the fight and not his whole army and just a little around 20,000 men to make this assault and against almost equal numbers in the union army. and over 2500. it's a pretty one sided battle but the army doesn't get out of it completely scott free but what is also extremely staggering is a number of officer causalities. it now becomes a full on gushing wound. 55 regimental commanders are causalities in this battle. not including generals like patrick clayton.
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so it's a devastating fight. that is the heart and the soul of the story there of the battle of franklin. that type of attack. this is from looking across the ground on which the attack would occur. you can see it covers up large portions of the battlefield today. there's still development going on and then what remains behind
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are some of the haunting reminders of the battle. little outbuilding there is one of the most bullet marked buildings in north america and right beside it. you can still see them visible today. and then of course it left this. this is the dead of the battle of franklin buried on the plantation, visible there in the distance round over which the attack moved over. the leading general troops score. but it all starts out with the campaign franklin and it hasn't gotten much attention and it didn't happen simply and this map shows it was a maneuver and
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starts out. and destroying southern railroads but now a get back if you you will and he sets his army out to destroy sherman's supply lines striking at the railroad a number of cases. trying to draw sherman northward. he is going to get hood to give up atlanta by following him back north. into the mountains north georgia. and let sherman attack him and destroy and beat sherman in north georgia. so then hood will move his army into northern alabama. again, now coming up with a plan to try to strike in the middle tennessee. draw sherman out and call sherman to give up. he's going to move over
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developing another plan now. when this is all going on once he gets to a point, basically sherman throws his hands up in the air. he throws his hands up and turns his army around and goes to atlanta and then starts moving on savannah. it's one of the craziest things you have ever seen. two armies that battled each other for so long turn their backs on one another and go in opposite directions. but he didn't completely leave hood completely alone. he sent george thomas to nashville to gather a force to deal with hood but that's going to take time and now time becomes a factor. if hood can get across the river and thomas can amass his forces that can cause real trouble. and expressing a good bit of concern about what's going on.
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and sends them to deal with hood and they end up at a place called palasky, tennessee. they end up there and that's where finally in mid november hood strikes across the river and again starts out as a campaign. it's a funny thing. hood has this reputation of being a guy. you read most general things. he's not innovative. all he ever wanted was launch frontal attacks. he tries to try, in fact, there's only one frontal attack ever as an army commander.
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he tries most of us moves are trying to do flanking maneuvers. well, there's race to columbia tennessee. and gets in town just ahead of hood. and this time moving at the little town of springhill tennessee. and never were and that's one of -- that would be springhill. and that gets set to go. and something doesn't happen. and it's called the mystery of springhill and there's a lot of finger pointing to blame and all of these other commanders are blamed and even to add to about the new research that has been
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mentioned. and after darkness falls on the field basically says i don't do night attacks and all he had to do was push his men a few hundred yards to cut the road and it could have been a little different and be a little more kind to john bell hood and the evening of november 29th, it ends with such great potential for hood. his men are moving up flanking ahead and they have that opportunity by 4:00 p.m.. all they have to do and get a division across the turnpike which is only a few hundred yards away. one division has the whole army and none of it happens.
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it's a huge bungled mess and the union army slips right past, in some cases men actually walking to light their pipes with the confederate campfires that are that close. but the confederates never push across. but commanders pleaded to let them push on. it just doesn't happen. he would later write in his memoires thus the best move of my career as a soldier and the next morning he has a meeting at the mansion and a lot come out about who is there and that's one thing about this late in the war. sometimes we don't have the records and they were such a
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great thing and that little hint was it. >> here, here! >> that's the thing.
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he is going to be absolutely stunned but a little bit delayed and the hills just south of the town he sees it still there. he arrived in franklin and he has no intention. so he done think hood is going to attack him but he is going to order defense of the town and he will set about doing that.
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he'll have a little bit to work with but his men now are veterans of the atlanta campa n campaign. it's wonderful to see how creative they are. they go start throwing dirt on top of them. they're taking the part of the railroad ties and adding them. he's going to have two natural advantages as well. this area here, property owners have put up a type of plant called osage orange. how would you describe osage
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orange. >> well they are going to line their line. a few feet in front of them. they're going to cut it in half though. they're going to take the tops of it and to the sides where it doesn't exist they'll lay it out intertwining the branches together. they'll all have that advantage over on this part of the field an they're going to do the same thing with it. leaving that natural barrier there and also on the swampy ground and then building around it so these are going to play out pretty devastating, having devastating results of the confederates attack. the other thing is franklin has been the presence of the union army beforehand. this side of town guarding the railroad. there's a ford ranger. and a rifled artillery battery
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and it will also play out the devastating results the other thing is just the natural barrier of the river running around franklin. franklin is nestled in this bend in the river. hood is going to form this army up down here. they start out on the long battle lines and they'll be condensed as they moved in and that's going to play command control and units going to stack up and become almost a mob at some points so this is the terrain itself. hood is going to arrive on the scene in the early afternoon of november 30th. he's going to go after driving off. that's going to fall back to the
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division of george wagner. he's going to pull his men up across the valley and about a half mile to the main union line he is going to stop. he is going to order his men to entrench and his main brigade has been carrying big loads. mainline and formed them up back here and pretty much him and wagner screaming at each other as wagner is riding along as he is retreating at each other. now think about that as far as
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the commanding officer. final remark he says we all know you'll fight. he will play a pretty big role in things coming up. hood, comes up and looks over the hill, looks over the field and decides to, quote, we will make the fight he's going to tell them what they're going to do and they don't like it. and if they get it there's nothing north texas getting at them. this is a hail mary pass. it's going to be a frontal assault against a heavily fortified position and hood is going to launch it with less
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than an hour of daylight and in some ways he may be looking back on his earlier career, a similar situation toward richmond that's where he earned his reputation. a lot of similarities in his mind. it's a desperate thing but it worked. he has been trying these maneuvers. he forced the famed man and will urge another flag movement but what happened ever time he has tried to flank, it's failed. so now let's go straight up the middle. so what is going to play out is that hood will deploy -- he only has two of his core with him. he has been left to block and try to hold him in place in columbia. when he bypassed him to go to
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springhill. and they're going to deploy. stewart will deploy down here. the plan is, like i said, kind of hit on the center and break the line and hit the flank. just hit the line and try to drive the army into the river. so that's what is going to end up happening. basically hood states about this, the country around franklin from many miles is open and exposed to the full view of the federal army and i cannot mask the movements of my troops so he will with draw and proceed me into nashville. while his immediate center is very strong.
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they would attack the center. under cover he would move his division northward before claiborne and brown. so it is in order to tax currently with them. that's basically what is going to happen. they go back and have meetings with their commanders and they start to break off. this one actually goes to claiborne and give orders to your men until you drive federals from their first line referring to wagners position out here. in your front and then press them and shoot them in the back
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and breach the enemies lines. he tells general hood i will take those works or fall8 attempt. claiborne's become rather fatalistic in this campaign anyway and at this point it's starting to really happen. basically sees the war falling apart. and he stated in earlier speeches is that this cause that is so dear to my heart is doomed to fail. i pray i shall fall with it. and 104th ohio which is in the union center riding back to family noted. and as if in a trans. far to the south i hear a band looping around at the different boys i see him crying and told he just received word of the dying of his own daughter by
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smallpox. i hear captain bard say do you think the lord will be with us today? silently i said a prayer. some of the boys shook hand with our captain. i can hear bands play. and i see a few rebels being deployed in line of battle and a far distance. it is 3:30 p.m.. >> hood has been trying to flag them. they can't believe he is actually going to go on this but it does happen. the confederates warm up and they're having the same kind of reaction. they're shaking hands. some of them are trying to get their personal possessions. in order for him to watch them. in some cases sharp shooters that the army of tennessee had just like lee's army did in 64.
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they are supposed to operate at the distance. and parent companies to go into this attack. and not only that if this attack is going to fail they know the call. their cause is lost. and many of them are willing to go down fighting. but it doesn't stop some jokes. one of the hardest hitting units in the army is the brigade and unlike troops they were kind of in the state and it's a large number of st. louis irish. and as their soldiers are trying to break the heavy tension one of the soldiers pops up and england expects every man to do his duty today.
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typical term and he has a meeting with his officers and tells them what is going to happen. and arkansas brigade. and a few of us boys are going to get out to arkansas and claiborne turns to him and looks at him and says what ultimately is the title of a forthcoming book. if we were to die let us die like men and they ride down and start deploying at 4:00 the
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attack begins and they step off. the missouri brigade right shoulder shift arms. brigade forward, guide center, music, quick time, march. one soldier will note that their brass bands go into this attacks with them. playing up on saying that it was an unusual thing to go in the charge with the shooters. and by accounts they keep upmost of the way. and the army starts off moving at this grand pageant. the battle flags are flying and made more numerous by the fact that this army lost so many men that the regiments are very small and they start going across the field. franklin has said to be at pickets charge of the west.
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the only thing is they are both attacks and they didn't work and they lead to legends, legendary things and the train they're covering is over two miles of open ground. it's not flat ground. you got these gull lis and the lines going up and down from the west side of the road to the east side. you can't see the rest of the army because of this and worst of all as they start stepping off they start doing what they do best. long range fire and on the confederate right rank stewarts division, just reigning shrapnel down and they're getting torn apart step by step by the artillery. the other thing is that after the union infantry deployed that morning the chief of artillery of the fourth core had gone
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around the line and positioned guns all along the line at different points and it just creates these cross fires so it's just absolutely devastating what they are going to happen. and then something i came across in my most resent research has been done. and been going forward against wagner. they hit it. that's going to stall them a little bit. two divisions of stewart's core and slowed down by some of the terrain while his left most division of which the missouri brigade is part of, he went into the attack with one brigade in front of the other. one terrific brigade up front
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and then the missouri brigade. the first line hits part the end of wagner's advanced position and it stalls them out. so they go through them. you have at the beginning of this battle one brigade ahead of everybody else. and they're going to go straight up and hit the union line alone. making it worse they go in right in front of a regiment that is armed are repeating rifles. they are going to be hit in front and both flanks for a few minutes and description of this fighting is just unbelievably brutal. the officers going down. wounded and it just turns devastating these commanders and all and they're beaten back when they're finally reduced then the rest of the line starts hitting. stewart's division charges finally catches up.
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they're going in. and earned his straps early in the war over in the valley will go in and strike. and so will his brigade and they're going to hit this osage orange and it's going to slow them down and they can't get through it. they're charging forward and can't get through the hedge. hacking at it and a few actually going into the battle trying to chop at it and they can't and the men are hitting it and they're piling up on top of each other. rear troops are pushing in and they're getting killed there and end up horrifically stuck to the osage orange, what is going on. one soldier in the attack noted about this says that the smoke had settled in such a dense bank
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over the field in front that it could not be distinguished and four lines deep and were sweeping the old field between us and a battery of guns right and beyond and tearing up the ground around us and witnessing it noted the companies the right wing to commence firing. still they never flinched and finally moved on until they struck the hedge as completely as though they were run up against the chinese wall. they made desperate efforts to no avail. human nature couldn't stand the destructive fire reigned upon them. so they began to move quickly so as to pass around the hedge.
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they tried to force an entrance through the brush that will have been cut down. seeing their exertion they were compelled to flank again. and they're just being slaughtered. so that attack is going to play out. stewarts men are not going to be able to move forward. >> and they are blocking any fire and offer to the center. indeed, one confederate going into this noted as they go on
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forward as soon as they came in range the yankees open fire on us and we were fist killed and wounded our men. shot down and i'll take the flag. look after your company. and without a scratch. he was the lucky one. and we saw the men rushing on and we raise the rebel yell and we move into double quick time and fled in disorder. and toward the center of the union line here an kept his men
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out in front but he did. it then goes to john brown's division. no relation to john b. gordon. when they fled the shout was raised by some of the charging confederates. go into the works with them. this crowd was quickly called up and through a thousand straining throats as we rushed on after the flying forces. we had routed killing some of the running foe capturing others slow on foot and sustaining but little loss ourselves. still without 10 paces of their mainline. of the strong hold. and hell itself exploded in our
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faces. but they carry them up and over the works. and they break through at the union center. but it doesn't go far. in the center there had been a secondary line of works constructed. as they break through they are not going to be able to overcome it. indeed, one soldier noted they pitch into the confederate. and a simultaneous counter attack at this point. anyway they sprang over and with the mass of confederates that
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have taken our line and did not know what to do with it and at the first ohio he cracked his whip around the ears of his artillerist. they started running and he is like -- slashing around them with verocity of demons. as if he needed anymore. he has been pitched -- this is all going to transpire also to the carter house which is one of the preserved areas of the battlefield today. one of the soldiers noted the contesting elements could have seemed almost like a methodist love feast compared to the
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pandemonium that rained there for the space of 10 to 20 minutes. the scenes we witnessed during that short space of time was stamped upon the minds of the participants that even after a long time we still remember them etched in our minds. so it just gives you an idea of this. and now then this attack is going to be repulse. most of them are falling back into the ditch. they're separated a few feet from each other. goes in and it's pretty much the same story going to play out. he's going to luck out and and
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then the one that i mention earlier and can see here and at the age of 21 years old commanding our regiment and by now with his son it's dark. but it's still not going to end. fate goes in. heavy losses. and then in allegheny johnson's division. and what he needs him to do with the officers men. if he has any orders he had none
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to give and it's where you needed and wanted at once. and pitches in at 7:00 p.m.. they are advancing with torches. they couldn't believe what they're seeing and they charge in and it's described here, while it works and the flaming torches carried by the head of column presented a surreal sight. they pitch in and it starts going to pieces again. adding more causalities to the fight. and south carolina infantry and
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colonel of that regiment. and then the next senior colonel goes. he orders his men to lie down. he also didn't earn a lot of money. they die down until about 11:00 p.m. or so when the fighting finally dies out that night. there have been many tragic scenes on the battlefield fighting here in carter house yard. one of the desperate things and in that fighting, a little nudge to chris. one of the soldiers that leads the attack. one into the fighting and there in the carter house yards the 24th of wisconsin lead by their commanding officer arthur mcarthur, the father of general douglas mcarthur. he'll be wounded there but the
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most dramatic tale of the battle deals with the young man in this painting. the son of the carter family whose home has witnessed all of this. he is serving as a staff officer and goes in with his hometown regiment t 20th of tennessee and very short distance from his home and even on his family property he is mortally wounded. he gets something that his soldier did not and dies in his own bed. this is the legacy then. the union army retreats but it goes to nashville and there's an army from this field. but this is the hall mark. you have these generals dead or
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mortally wounded. states rights guests and general john adams that hides when his horse runs up on to the earth works of the union line and is shot down at that point. and then you have three generals wounded, scott, and then one captured. left that account and gets pulled over by his curling hair and made a prisoner. but then the men, this is illumination that happened on the anniversary. i'm not a big fan of giving casualty numbers because it's hard for us to visualize. this is a good way of seeing
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that. and 37 georgia infantry. he is buried in that cemetery. i have shown you the pictures of it. lived most of his life before him, not too far from where i live today in north georgia and yet story ends there on that battlefield that's how it all plays out. so much of this is the story of the common soldier and all of those others go down at this point leaving a legacy of their bravery on that battlefield and legacy for john bell hood who leads to a lot of misconceptions about him over the years that are now hopefully being addressed and cleared up to try to give him a fair shake so to speak.
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thank you. [ applause ] >> questions for mr. white. >> thanks very much. i was wondering as you were researching this and studying it, it seems that the similarities between williamsport and the defense of williamsport and then when we got then and the town is built in a river. the reverse symmetry of the union in an attacking position and the confederates defending and here and then the union didn't attack of course and i'm just wondering, you know, i
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guess this is more than a comment than a question but to me it's remarkable and i haven't seen a lot of comparisons. could you comment a little bit on the similarities. >> lee is trying to slip away across the river. so there are some comparisons. and got units that are harmed and more preponderance of rifled guns. and heavier works in some cases. these guys have now become experts by this point. >> what happens to the
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reminisces of the army here. did they play any role. >> pursues to nashville. what else is he going to do. throughout this whole campaign hood has been very well aware that his is now the only confederate arm maneuvering and not pinned down and can do something. an george thomas who have been massing these troops attacks and destroys what is left of the army of tennessee. and he also accomplishes something and rides after hood's army retreats from nashville an he pursues them and rides them into the ground. other questions.
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>> i believe forest was involved in this, wasn't he? >> to some degree. >> what was his role. >> the eyes and ears of the army. and he plays off on the flights of the army. he doesn't become heavily involved there. >> i was in franklin a couple of years ago and they were in the process of buying property and restoring. has that been accomplished? >> they're still doing it. they're still working off and reclaiming large portions of the battlefield. this is some land that's already been developed over the years but there's eric jacobson that's
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instrumental. a lot of good workout there. one of the coolest things as far as me geeking out over. a lot of the centerpieces of the battle are the carter family cotton gin. they also found where the trenches were and they're finding the bullets, the repeating casings there in the bottom of the trenches and they're filling in with gravel. i think it's pretty cool. thank you.
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>> and beginning monday december 26th we'll take a look at national security and defense issues including challenges facing president elect's trump leader ahead. and then on tuesday, december 27th, it's trade and job issues examining how congress and the trump administration could change trade laws. and energy and environmental policy and discuss how energy and climate issues have been impacted by the new congress and the trump administration. thursday december 29th we'll talk about immigration and how president elect trump and the new congress might change policy and on friday december 30th we'll look at the future of the affordable care act and how they will repeal and replace the aca


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