Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Hill

Truthfully I should have made this post before I started the Franklin series, but somehow I forgot that I had some Spring Hill pictures. Or maybe I was just too focused on Franklin. In any respect Spring Hill is one of those big what-if moments of the war. Hood had outmaneuvered the Union at Columbia and had a chance to put them in a huge bind. If his men could block the Columbia Pike they would put the Union in a tight spot. The Union army would be separated with the Confederate army between them. Of course you could also look at it that the Confederates would now be surrounded, but generally history has looked at this as a lost opportunity for the Confederates.

Instead the Confederates stopped just short of the Columbia Pike, and slept while the Union army slipped by on the pike. The next morning a furious Hood would berate his top commanders. Some believe that these men responded by being too exposed, too aggressive at the battle of Franklin, which lead to six generals being killed. I think Hood deciding he would make a frontal assault on Franklin instead of finding a way around the town and beating the retreating Union army to Nashville was the reason for the high casualties at Franklin. For whatever reason (and there have been tons of explanations offered for why Hood attacked the way he did) for that style of attack that is why the losses were so severe.

Back to Spring Hill, there is some land preserved and much of the area still is rural. That has changed in recent years, in the few years since I started visiting Spring Hill I've seen new buildings go up in the area and can see that it will only get worse. I have little fear of Savannah growing into the view sheds of Shiloh but I am certain that Franklin's growth will mean growth for Spring Hill and we will lose hallowed ground and view sheds.

The main land preserved at Spring Hill is where Forrest's men attacked, followed later in the day by Cleburne.

The view from the above sign. The ridge line is very obvious but this walk is much steeper than it looks. Not extreme steep but it proves the point that you do not really appreciate maps and books until you walk the ground.

And the view back down the hill. There is a walking trail up here with a few stops that help explain the fight up here.

Back in the parking lot is this state historical marker that has one of the best quotes of the war. Forrest speaking to Chalmers after he was repulsed, "They was in there sure enough, wasn't they, Chalmers?" Cleburne's men then arrived and pushed the attack, succeeding until dark ended the fighting.

On the Columbia Pike, and nearly due west of the preserved land seen earlier, is this sign. It helps show how close the Confederates were to cutting the pike. How this would have affected the course of the war can be debated but the earlier fighting is only a half mile away so once Cleburne drove the Union back there was little to stop them from cutting the pike.

This is very similar to a picture at the beginning of this post. I included it here because it shows some of the preservation issues at Spring Hill. At the base of the hill is a new building (I haven't been back since to see what business happens at the building, it might be a grocery store or a warehouse, I don't know) which was not there on my first visit a few years earlier. In the distance is a highway that handles a lot of traffic heading towards the Saturn plant, as well as the general increase in population in the area. Sad to say but I do not think that this view will remain like this for much longer. If this is the view we have in 2039 for the 175th anniversary I would be very surprised, I think there will be more homes and stores cluttering this view by then. I hope I'm wrong.

1 comment:

STAG said...

Dammmmmnnnn! But I got to get you to take me on a tour some day!