FRANKLIN SHANAFELT enlisted as a Private into Co. E of the Ohio 115th Infantry on August 14, 1862. He was promoted to Corporal on December 15, 1862 and was mustered out on June 22, 1865.
4 pp, 5 x 8, December 25, 1864, Overalls Creek, block house no. 7, to Rose Shanafelt. In this letter, Shanafelt writes about Gen. John Bell Hood’s taking of 150 prisoners of his regiment and the Confederate attack on the railroad and the block houses.
“...I am getting a long pretty well considering the time we had here about Murfresboro [TN]. There has been a big excitement while Hood was around here. There was a party of rebels to be seen about here. I guess that you have heard all about the fight down here. The Block Houses were all burned between Nashville and Murfresboro except No. 7 and that stands yet but the rebels tried pretty hard. There was about 84 shots fired at the Block House and out of the 84 there was 32 hit it. You better believe it is marked with the cannon balls...One of the boys lip was splinter hit...They were busy asking...us to surrender. They only come up to the Block House four times with the white flag and ask us to surrender or they would blow us to hell...There was about 150 of our regiment taken prisoner...”
Blockhouses were a standard form of defense works throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in America. They were positioned alone on top of hills, used as look-out posts for defense.
The Third Battle of Murfreesboro was fought on December 5 – 7, 1864, in Rutherford County, TN, as part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of the Civil War. It was Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood’s last desperate attempt to force Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union Army out of Georgia. After suffering terrible losses at Franklin, he continued toward Nashville. On December 4th, he sent Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest with two cavalry divisions and Maj. Gen. William B. Bate’s infantry division to Murfreesboro.
On December 2nd, Hood ordered the destruction of the railroad and the blockhouses between Murfreesboro and Nashville. On December 4th, Blockhouse No. 7 was attacked. It had protected but Union forces fought it off. On December 5th, Forest marched toward Murfreesboro and demanded the garrisons at both locations to surrender, which they did. At one point, some of Bates’ troops broke and ran. The rest of Forrest’s command conducted an orderly retreat and encamped for the night outside Murfreesboro. Forrest had succeeded in destroying the railroad track and block houses and generally disrupted Union operations in the area. More importantly, he kept the supply line and retreat route open.
Folds, light toning. Shanafelt’s writing is clear but challenging to read. Creative spelling corrected in transcription for clarity.
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