|Save The Franklin Battlefield, Inc|
2005 Preservation March for Franklin
October 22, 2005
In the predawn darkness of Saturday Oct 22, a small group of dedicated volunteer re-enactors huddled around a truck tailgate for donuts and hot coffee. They were preparing for the 15 mile march from Spring Hill into Franklin retracing the steps of both armies just before the bloody Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. Their goal was to raise funds from their per-mile sponsors for the repair of the Collins Farm house located on the Franklin battlefield on Lewisburg Pike at the CSX railroad crossing.
Collins Farm is an important 3.22 acres of the Franklin battlefield that STFB purchased in June 2001, and with the constant and steadfast help of our STFB supporters nationwide these past four years, paid off the mortgage in June 2005.
The land is on the extreme east end of the main trench line where the river and railroad converge at Lewisburg Pike.
This ground was traversed by Gen. W W Loring's Division as they attacked over the railroad embankment and became entangled in the osage orange abatis in front of the Federal trenches, all the while under heavy artillery fire from Fort Granger, less than a mile to the north. It was this ground of which Lieutenant William H. Berryhill of the 43rd Mississippi lamented, "I cannot see how any human being could live two moments in such a place." Loring's Division has more battle dead buried at the Confederate Cemetery at Carnton than any other of Hood's divisions.
The main part of the today's Collins house was built in 1866-67. The dug well south of the house is no longer used but it is mentioned in war-time letters as providing water for the wounded. Several Confederate dead were buried on the property until they were moved to the McGavock Confederate Cemetery in the spring of 1866.
This was the fourth time STFB had sponsored a Preservation March for Franklin. The money raised in prior years was used to pay down the mortgage on Collins Farm that STFB bought in 2001. Since the property was paid off last June, the funds raised in the 2005 march will be used to make repairs to the Collins Farm House which was damaged during a storm last February.
The uniformed reenactors marched from Spring Hill and arrived at Winstead Hill about 1:30 PM. After a brief rest, the marchers were joined by other military and civilian marchers for the final two mile march to Collins Farm on Lewisburg Pike.
The March ended at Collins Farm, where the Marchers were greeted by Franklin's Mayor Tom Miller, STFB Officers, the visiting public, and an encampment of re-enactors. After refreshments and brief congratulatory comments by the Mayor and others, the Collins Farm mortgage was bayoneted by STFB Board Member Bobby Hargrove and burned over an open camp fire.
The Collins Farm 3.22 acres still needs much cleanup work to give it a more parklike appearance, and the farm house still needs much work to repair the damage from the February storm - but for now, we want to celebrate the good news that Collins Farm is paid for, and we have much more latitude in how our land purchase funds are directed to repairs, or to battlefield purchase projects, as need dictates.
Our STFB membership and supporters are the people who made this battlefield preservation project successful, and we want all of you to come to Collins Farm to see what you accomplished.
The "2005 Preservation March For Franklin" funds raised to-date by State are:
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