This monograph on the Battle of Franklin was read first at a meeting of the Minnesota Commandery of the Loyal Legion, December 9, 1902. Written after an exhaustive investigation begun many years before, the straightforward truth was told without fear or favor. The disgraceful and costly blunder with which the Battle of Franklin opened should have been investigated by a court of inquiry. The only action taken, however, was the deposing of General Wagner, the junior in rank and the weakest in influence among the generals implicated, from the command of his division, with the statement that the blunder was due to his disobedience of orders. With this action the matter was hushed up.
on was called to a group of mounted officers in a field on the side of the Winsted Hills, to the east of the Columbia Pike, and about a mile and a half in our front. This group undoubtedly consisted of General Hood and his staff. An officer who was present with Hood has stated that from their position they had a good view of Cox's line and that after giving this line a hasty survey through his field-glass, General Hood slapped the glass shut with an emphatic gesture and decisively exclaimed, "We will attack!" Staff officers then began to gallop forth from the group with orders for the troops to form for assault.
At the angle where I was, the view of the valley directly in our front and to our right was shut off by a piece of woodland a short distance in advance of our position, so that we did not see anything of the movements of Cheatham's corps, which formed astride the Columbia Pike. Looking up the valley to our left front was a wide expanse of cleared fields and in these fields we plainly saw the mo