After a humiliating failure at Spring Hill, General John Bell Hood made the greatest
mistake of his career and put an end to the Confederate Army of Tennessee at Franklin,
Tennessee, on November 30, 1864. Although often overlooked, Civil War scholars cite the
battle as the most tragic scenario of the War Between the States. Hood lost over six thousand
men, which equaled one third of his troops, and twice the number of Confederate casualties in
Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Of the thousands lost, six of Hood’s generals died
and six others were wounded. These deaths ensured the Federal victory in the western war.
Despite the enormity of the Battle of Franklin, there are only a handful of small discontinuous
sites to commemorate the devastating event.
Recently, the City of Franklin, Tennessee, began planning for a battlefield park to
acknowledge this important local history and to attract a greater number of Civil War heritage
tourists. This paper examines the past preservation activities related to the battlefield, reasons
for the renewed interest in developing a heritage park, and needs of the various stakeholders
affected by the battlefield preservation plans. After comparing two alternative plans for
preserving the Franklin Battlefield, based upon the needs and wants of the community, neither
option emerges as a clear winning alternative. Thus, the most fitting alternative for Franklin
Battlefield is a combination of the two alternative plans.