John Franklin Jameson

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Franklin, Battle of (1864).After Union General William Tecumseh Sherman had captured the capital of Georgia in the Battle of Atlanta, he cut loose from his supply lines and set out with 62,000 of his troops in mid‐November 1864 on Sherman's march to the sea to cripple southern resources and demonstrate the hopelessness of the Confederate cause. But, while Sherman headed east, Confederate Gen. John B. Hood headed into Tennessee behind Sherman.

To guard against this move, Sherman had left George H. Thomas in Tennessee. Once Thomas could gather the numerous garrison troops there, he would have an army of ample size to deal with Hood. Meanwhile, Thomas assigned Gen. John M. Schofield with 34,000 men to watch Hood. Hood advanced rapidly from northern Alabama, outmaneuvered Schofield, and nearly captured his force at Spring Hill, Tennessee, 29 November 1864. Something went wrong—just what did remains controversial—in the Confederate army's command structure, and Schofield's army was able to escape from the trap.

The next morning, an enraged Hood put his army in pursuit. He caught Schofield at Franklin, Tennessee. The Federals' backs were to the unbridged Harpeth River, but in front of them were powerful entrenchments and an open plain two miles wide. Though two of his divisions and nearly all his artillery had not yet arrived, Hood hurled his 30,000 available men against the Union fortifications in a series of bloody and futile charges. Six of Hood's generals were killed, and 6,245 other Confederates became casualties. Union casualties numbered only 2,326.

After the battle, Schofield withdrew at his leisure, joining Thomas in Nashville. Hood followed. The slaughter at Franklin substantially weakened Hood's army and made easier and more complete Thomas's devastating victory at the Battle of Nashville a fortnight later.


Richard M. McMurry , John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence, 1982.
James Lee McDonough and and Thomas L. Connelly , Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin, 1983.

Steven E. Woodworth

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Franklin, Sir John (1786–1847). After a distinguished naval career in the wars against Napoleon, Franklin became the most famous British Arctic explorer of his day. Then, like Livingstone, at the end of his life, he became even more of a national figure by disappearing into the unknown. Although a naval officer trained in 1818 in using large ships to force a way through the ice of the Canadian north to find the North-West Passage and arguably a victim of that policy, Franklin made his greatest discoveries on two overland journeys of 1818–22 and 1825–7 when he explored vast areas of northern mainland Canada and traced the northern coast. After a spell as governor of Tasmania from 1834 to 1843, he was chosen to take the Antarctic ships Erebus and Terror, which Ross had used, to the Arctic to force the North-West Passage. It was later learned that, having got through sea passages to the west side of King William Island, the ships had frozen in. Franklin died, but his men survived to perish later of scurvy, starvation, and lead poisoning from their tinned foods. No fewer than 40 official and unofficial expeditions searched for Franklin (and in the process, ironically, showed there was a North-West Passage) but not until 1859 was the nature of the disaster fully established.

Roy C. Bridges

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John Franklin Jameson, 1859–1937, American historian, b. Somerville, Mass. After teaching at Johns Hopkins, Brown, and the Univ. of Chicago he was director (1905–28) of the department of historical research of the Carnegie Institution, Washington, D.C., and from 1928 to his death he was chief of the division of manuscripts in the Library of Congress. As chairman of the committee of management of the Dictionary of American Biography he was largely responsible for the inauguration and completion of that monumental work. In these and other undertakings, Jameson exercised much influence in American historical scholarship. He wrote The History of Historical Writing in America (1891) and The American Revolution Considered as a Social Movement (1926) and edited Correspondence of John C. Calhoun (1900, repr. 1969).