GENERAL WILLIAM BUEL FRANKLIN, USA - History

GENERAL WILLIAM BUEL FRANKLIN, USA - History


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VITAL STATISTICS
BORN: 1823 in York, PA.
DIED: 1903 in Hartford, CT.
CAMPAIGNS: Fredericksburg and Red River Campaign.
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Brigadier General.
BIOGRAPHY
William Buel Franklin was born on February 27, 1823, in York, Pennsylvania. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point in 1843, the same class in which Ulysses S. Grant graduated. Franklin was appointed an engineer, and served with distinction in the South Pass Expedition and the Mexican War, under Col. Philip Kearny. Right before the Civil War, Franklin was assigned to oversee the construction of a new dome for the Capitol in Washington, D.C. On May 17, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier general. Franklin led two corps at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862, and Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside blamed him for the Union failure there. The Committee on the Conduct of the War sided with Burnside, for political reasons, and Franklin was taken off duty for over five months. In the summer of 1863, Franklin was assigned corps command in the Department of the Gulf. His participation in Maj. Nathaniel P. Banks' unfortunate Red River Campaign further tarnished Franklin's reputation. Although Gen. Grant requested his services, Franklin was unable to take part in active campaigning in 1865 because of his disability and official disapproval. After the Civil War, Franklin was an executive of the Colt Fire Arms manufacturing Company, serving for 22 years. In that capacity, he displayed excellent skills as an engineer and administrator. He was an elector in the 1876 Presidential election, as well as commissioner general at the 1888 Paris Exposition. Franklin died in Hartford, Connecticut on March 8, 1903.

William Buel Franklin (February 27, 1823 – March 8, 1903)

William B. Franklin was born in York, Pennsylvania on February 27, 1823. He was the first of six children of Walter S. Franklin and Sarah Buel, including five boys and one girl. The elder Franklin was a lawyer who served as Clerk of the United States House of Representatives from 1833 until his death in 1838. William's great-grandfather, Samuel Rhoads, was a member of the First Continental Congress. William's brother, Samuel Rhoads Franklin, was an officer in the U.S. Navy who achieved the rank of rear admiral. His youngest brother served as an officer in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War.

Franklin's family moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1829, where they resided until 1835 before returning to York. Upon his return to York, Franklin enrolled at the York County Academy to prepare for college. Just before Franklin's father died in 1838, he petitioned Secretary of War Joel R. Poinsett to secure an appointment for William to the United States Military Academy. Poinsett initially demurred because Franklin was only sixteen years of age, but at the urging of future President James Buchanan, he relented.

Franklin entered the Academy on July 1, 1839. There, he rubbed shoulders with future Civil War notables George B. McClellan, Thomas J. Jackson, William T. Sherman, James Longstreet, Richard Ewell, Don Carlos Buell, William S. Rosecrans, John Pope, Winfield Scott Hancock, Nathaniel Lyon, John F. Reynolds, D. H. Hill, Lafayette McLaws, Alfred Pleasonton, Simon B. Buckner, William F. Smith, Fitz John Porter, Edmund Kirby Smith, George Stoneman, George Pickett, and fellow classmate Ulysses S Grant. During his four years at West Point, Franklin proved to be a stellar student, graduating first in his class of thirty-nine cadets on July 1, 1843.

Following his graduation, Franklin was brevetted to second lieutenant and assigned to the topographical engineers. After participating in a survey of the Northwestern Lakes for two years, Franklin performed survey duties on Brigadier-General Stephen W. Kearny's Expedition to South Pass of the Rocky Mountains in 1845. Upon his return, Franklin was assigned to the Topographical Bureau at Washington, D. C., where he served until 1846. On September 21, 1846, Franklin was promoted to the full rank of second lieutenant. Following a brief stint in Georgia, Franklin was transferred to General Zachary Taylor's command during the Mexican-American War (April 25, 1846–February 2, 1848). Serving in Northern Mexico, Franklin received a brevet promotion to first lieutenant, "for gallant and meritorious service during the Battle of Buena Vista" (February 22󈞃, 1847).

After the Mexican-American War, Franklin served as an assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at the U.S. Military Academy between 1848 and 1851. Following his assignment at West Point, he worked on or supervised numerous bridge and lighthouse projects in the Eastern United States for the next eight years. During that time Franklin was promoted to first lieutenant on March 3, 1853 and to captain on July 1, 1857.

In 1859, Franklin was selected as the superintending engineer in charge of the extension of the Capitol Building in Washington, including the construction of the new dome. During the two-year span that followed, he also oversaw the construction of the new general post office and treasury buildings in the nation's capital.

Soon after the Civil War began, Franklin was promoted to the rank of colonel in the U.S Army and assigned to the 112th U.S. Infantry, on May 14, 1861. Just four days later, he was elevated to brigadier-general in the volunteer army. Two months later, Franklin led the 1st brigade of the 3rd Division of the Army of Northeastern Virginia into combat at the Battle of Bull Run I (July 21, 1861).

When President Abraham Lincoln turned to Major General George B. McClellan to reorganize Union forces in the East following the disaster at Bull Run, McClellan named Franklin as a division commander in the newly-created Army of the Potomac in September 1861. By the spring of 1862, President Lincoln had drafted his own reorganization plan for the Army of the Potomac. On March 8, he issued War Order No. 2, consolidating the army's divisions into five corps. Lincoln went on to name Major General Irvin McDowell, Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner, Brigadier General S. P. Heintzelman, Brigadier General Erasmus D. Keyes, and Major General Nathaniel P. Banks to command the five corps respectively. Dutifully, on March 13, 1862 a disgruntled McClellan issued General Order No. 101 (Army of the Potomac), confirming the President's selections.

In the spring of 1862, McClellan launched his ill-fated Peninsula Campaign. During the initial phase of the campaign, Franklin commanded the 1st Division of McDowell's 1st Corps and participated in the Siege of Yorktown (April 5–May 4, 1862). Following the failed Federal naval offensive at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff (May 15, 1862), McClellan issued General Order No. 125 (Army of the Potomac) on May 18. McClellan's order created a provisional 6th Corps, commanded by Franklin. During the Seven Days Battles (June 25–July 1, 1862), Franklin's Corps played major roles in the Battle of Gaines' Mill (June 27, 1862) and the Battle of Savage's Station (June 29, 1862). On July 24, 1862, Franklin was brevetted to brigadier-general in the regular army, "for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle before Richmond, Virginia," effective June 30, 1862 (U.S. War Department, General Order No. 87).

When McClellan withdrew from the Virginia Peninsula during the summer of 1862 following the failed Peninsula Campaign, Franklin's Corps was sent to Alexandria, Virginia, near Manassas. On July 22, 1862, the War Department issued General Order No. 84, removing the provisional designation of the 6th Corps, making it a certified corps of the Army of the Potomac. The War Department followed up that directive on August 2, 1862 with General Order No. 93, promoting Franklin to the rank of major general, U. S. Volunteers, effective July 4, 1862.

During the Northern Virginia Campaign, Major General McClellan assured General-in-Chief Henry Halleck on August 27, 1862 that he would advance Franklin's Corps to support Major General John Pope's Army of Virginia during the Battle of Bull Run II (August 28󈞊, 1862). Instead, McClellan ordered Franklin to remain in Alexandria. On August 28, Halleck contacted Franklin directly and ordered him to support Pope regardless of McClellan's directives. Franklin demurred and, instead, awaited direct orders from McClellan, which did not come. On August 29, Franklin began moving, after receiving another direct order from Halleck, but McClellan directed him to halt near Annandale, just a few miles from where Pope's troops were desperately engaged with the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. On August 30, Franklin advanced to Centerville in time to encounter Pope's defeated army as it retreated toward Washington. Pope later charged Franklin with failing to obey orders, but nothing came of the allegations due to McClellan's role in the affair.

After his victory at the Battle of Bull Run II, Robert E. Lee decided to invade Maryland. An important element of Lee's offensive was the capture of the Federal garrison at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. On September 13, 1862, McClellan ordered Franklin to seize Crampton's Gap at South Mountain and then to head west to relieve the garrison at Harper’s Ferry, which was under siege. Instead of departing immediately, Franklin chose to move on the morning of September 14. His troops did not reach Burkittsville, near the mouth of the pass, until around noon. Franklin then spent three hours deploying twelve thousand Union soldiers to dislodge between five hundred to one thousand Confederate defenders commanded by Colonel William A. Parham. When the action finally started, the Yankees quickly seized the gap and sent the Rebel defenders scurrying down the western side of the mountain. By the time Franklin rounded up nearly four hundred prisoners and reassembled his forces, it was after 6 p.m. The victorious general determined that it was too late in the day to move west and relieve the Union soldiers who were holding out at Harper’s Ferry. The next day, before Franklin's reinforcements arrived, the garrison at Harper’s Ferry surrendered to General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Their surrender enabled Jackson to march east and join Longstreet and Lee near Sharpsburg, Maryland, setting the stage for the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862). During that bloody encounter, to Franklin's unhappiness, McClellan held back much of 6th Corps.

Despite the fact that the Army of the Potomac halted Robert E. Lee's advance into Maryland, President Lincoln was disappointed in McClellan's performance, especially the general's reluctance to press Lee's retreating army. On November 5, 1862, Lincoln issued an executive order removing McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac, replacing him with General Ambrose E. Burnside. The next week, on November 14, Burnside issued General Order No. 184 (Army of the Potomac), which reorganized his new command into three "Grand Divisions." He named Franklin to lead the Left Grand Division, which consisted of the 1st and 6th Corps.

During the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11󈝻, 1862), Franklin confronted Major General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's troops on the Confederate right, as Major General Joseph Hooker's Center Grand Division and Major General Edwin V. Sumner's Right Grand Division were being mauled in their attempts to carry strongly fortified Rebel positions on Marye's Heights. After the battle, some of Burnside's subordinates, including Franklin and Hooker, were critical of Burnside's leadership during the engagement. As the criticism grew, Burnside requested an audience with President Lincoln on January 23, 1863. During the meeting, Burnside presented General Orders No. 8 (Army of the Potomac), which proposed dismissing Hooker from the army (on approval of the President) and also proposed relieving a large number of Burnside's subordinate general officers of their command, including Franklin. Burnside went on to demand that Lincoln either approve the order or accept his resignation. Unwilling to authorize a wholesale dismissal of so many generals, Lincoln instead drafted General Orders No. 20 (U.S. War Department) on January 25, 1863, announcing that Burnside was being relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac, at his own request. The order went on to announce that Franklin was also being relieved of his duties with the Army of the Potomac.

The controversy surrounding the Union disaster at Fredericksburg did not end with General Order No. 20. Eager to find a scapegoat, the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War investigated the matter during the spring. After hearing misleading testimony from Burnside, the committee issued a report on April 6, 1863 targeting Franklin. Unwilling to let his reputation be sullied by the committee's partisan conclusions, Franklin published a rejoinder at his own expense that refuted their conclusions. Unfortunately for Franklin, his response was largely ignored by the Republican press.

After losing his command with the Army of the Potomac, Franklin traveled to New York to await further orders. On June 25, 1863, General Halleck ordered Franklin to report to New Orleans, Louisiana for duty with the Department of the Gulf, commanded by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks. Banks placed Franklin in charge of troops in and around New Orleans from July 28 until August 15. On August 15, 1863, Banks issued Special Orders No. 200 (Department of the Gulf), naming Franklin as commander of the 19th Corps. On August 20, Franklin issued General Orders No. 1 (19th Army Corps), assuming his new command.

Franklin's performance in the West was less than stellar. On September 8, 1863, fewer than fifty Confederate defenders repulsed a contingent of four gunboats and nearly six thousand infantrymen commanded by Franklin, as they attempted to subdue Fort Griffin on the Sabine River in Texas. The next spring, Franklin's corps spearheaded the ill-fated Red River Campaign. During that campaign, Franklin received a wound to his left leg at the decisive Battle of Mansfield (April 8, 1864).

Franklin's leg wound soon developed complications, requiring him to be on sick leave from April 29 to December 2, 1864. During that period, he returned to the Washington area. On July 10, 1864, Franklin was traveling on a train near Baltimore, when Confederate Colonel Harry Gilmore took him prisoner during a raid on the Magnolia Station. Franklin managed to escape the next night.

Physically limited because of his wound, Franklin was no longer able to hold a field command. From December 2, 1864 to November 10, 1865 he served as President of the Board for Retiring Disabled Officers, at Wilmington, Delaware. While stationed there, Franklin was brevetted to major general in the U. S. Army, effective March 13, 1865, "for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion." On November 10, Franklin again went on leave before resigning from the army on March 15, 1866.

Following his military career, Franklin worked for the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut for twenty-three years, from November 15, 1865 to April 1, 1888. He also served as an engineer, consultant, and board member on numerous public and private projects. In 1872, Franklin declined an opportunity to run for President of the United States as a Democratic candidate.

Franklin's health began to decline near the turn of the century. On the morning of March 8, 1903, he peacefully died at his residence in Hartford. His remains were buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery, near his birthplace in York, Pennsylvania.


--> Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903

Educated West Point, graduated 1843. Served in Mexican-American War, as Professor at West Point for three years and as an engineer until the outbreak of the Civil War. As a Union Army General, he saw action at Antietam and Fredericksburg. After the war he became manager of Colt Firearms.

From the description of W. B. Franklin letter to Col. George E. Waring, Jr. [manuscript], 1870 Jul 1. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 225134864

From the description of William Buel Franklin papers, 1861-1865. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79450703

William Buel Franklin was a Union army general in the Civil War.

From the description of W. B. Franklin letter to Colonel Nicholson, 1899 September 1. (University of California, Santa Barbara). WorldCat record id: 746528112

William Buel Franklin was born in York, Pennsylvania, on February 27, 1823. His father, Walter S. Franklin, served as a clerk for the United States House of Representatives. Franklin entered the United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of 16 and graduated as the first-ranking cadet in the Class of 1843. Following his graduation, he served in the Corps of Topographical Engineers and served in Mexico under General John E. Wool during the Mexican War. He later moved to Washington, D.C., and became a civil engineer, working as a lighthouse inspector. In 1857, he became Army Secretary to the Lighthouse Board. Franklin served in the Union Army during the Civil War, participating in several battles under Major General George B. McClellan and attaining the rank of major general. He resigned his commission after the war, and continued to work as an engineer in Hartford, Connecticut, where he oversaw construction of the state capitol in the 1870s. William B. Franklin died on March 8, 1903.

From the guide to the William B. Franklin letter book, Franklin, William B. letter book, 1857-1859, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)


High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02455.02 Author/Creator: Burnside, Ambrose Everett (1824-1881) Place Written: Fredericksburg, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 13 December 1862 Pagination: 1 p. 11.5 x 19 cm.

Orders written the morning of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Burnside is "this moment preparing orders for you," and tells Franklin to "Make no movement except for defense until they arrive." Also hopes "to be with you this morning." Franklin was in charge of a large portion of the army during this assault. After the bloody Union defeat, accused Franklin of disobeying orders and blamed him for being partly responsible for the Union defeat. Burnside demanded that Lincoln either remove Franklin and a number of other officers or relieve Burnside of his command. Lincoln chose to replace Burnside, but even though Franklin was not removed, his military career was ruined by these events.

Dec 13th 1862.
Genl Franklin
I am this [struck: moment] moment preparing orders for you. Make no movement except for defense until they arrive. I hope to be with you this morning.


U.S. Lighthouse Society News

William B. Franklin
as a Union Army Major General
(Library of Congress)

A native of York, Pennsylvania, William Buel Franklin graduated West Point at the top of the Class of 1843. His classmates included William F. Raynolds and Ulysses S. Grant. Franklin spend his entire antebellum service in the Corps of Topographic Engineers. He worked on various surveys in the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Coast, taught at West Point, and supervised the expansion of the Capitol and Treasury Buildings. During the Mexican War he was on the staff of General Wool and participated in the Battle of Buena Vista.

Before and simultaneous to his engineering work on the Washington federal buildings, Franklin held several important positions in the Lighthouse Service. He was the first Engineer (1852) and first Inspector (1852-1856) of the 1 st Lighthouse District, embracing the state of Maine – the state that would eventually have more light stations than any other, except Michigan. Franklin was also 2 nd Lighthouse District Engineer (1856-1860). Overlapping these positions, Franklin was also the Lighthouse Board’s Engineer Secretary (1857-1859).

Cape Ann Lighthouse
(US Coast Guard Historian’s Office
via USLHS Digital Archives)

As District Engineer, Franklin’s most notable contribution was the twin lighthouses at Cape Ann (Thatcher’s Island), Massachusetts. Elements of this design appear to have influenced the postwar design of the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was itself the basis for a standardized design used for numerous brick and iron lighthouses in the 1870s.

In Maine, Franklin made numerous successful recommendations for new lighthouses – some to replace inadequate and/or deteriorated structures while others were entirely new. These included Baker Island, Bass Harbor, Brown’s Head, Deer Island Thorofare, and Franklin Island (not named for the engineer). Not all of Franklin’s advice was acted upon. At Matinicus Rock, he recommended a single revolving light, but the Lighthouse Board decided on twin fixed lights instead.

It’s probable that most lighthouses built in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts during Franklin’s time as District Engineer there used his designs, but currently that is difficult to prove. Of over two dozen such lighthouses, the architectural drawings for most of them are not available online from the National Archives or the US Lighthouse Society’s J. Candace Clifford Lighthouse Research Catalog. From the limited information available, Franklin can definitely be credited with the following designs: Boon Island, Franklin Island, Matinicus Rock, Petit Manan, Seguin Island . He probably also designed West Quoddy Head, but no information could be found to confirm this. Many of Franklin’s Maine lighthouses follow the same general design: conical stone towers, grated iron stairs around a central column, and a connected keeper’s dwelling. In addition to lighthouses, he would have designed many keeper dwellings during this period. Further research of the drawings (at the National Archives College Park annex) and/or correspondence between the Lighthouse Board and district office is needed to give William Franklin all the credit he should be due. He may well be one of the most prolific lighthouse engineers in US history. Given his numerous responsibilities, Franklin presumably did not personally supervise construction of any of the lighthouses he designed.

Seguin Island Lighthouse
(USLHS Digital Archive, Herb Entwistle Postcard Collection)

As Engineer Secretary, Franklin apparently also designed the brick-lined iron lighthouse at Cape Canaveral, Florida (not constructed until after the Civil War). He also created a simple standardized design for prefabricated square wooden cottage-style lighthouses on screwpiles. His design, and its slight postwar variations, was used for upwards of 40 lighthouses. These small lighthouses were primarily for rivers, bays, and other shallow areas with sandy or muddy bottoms – particularly Chesapeake Bay and the North Carolina sounds.

Also as Engineer Secretary, logic and circumstance indicates Franklin was likely behind the creation of the antebellum Standard Brick Lighthouse Plan. Variations of this plan were used for at least a half dozen lighthouses in the southeast designed between 1857 and 1860. (More will be said about this design in a subsequent column.)

By the out break of the American Civil War in 1861, William Franklin had risen to the permanent rank of Captain in the Topographic Engineers. His Civil War service is generally not well regarded. Franklin commanded a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run and served in the Army of the Potomac for the first half of the war, reaching the rank of Major General of Volunteers. In early 1863, he led a “revolt of the generals” that included fellow former lighthouse engineers William F. Smith and John Newton. The conspirators were successful in getting Ambrose Burnside replaced, but were themselves also removed. Transferred to Louisiana, Franklin was part of the infamous Red River Campaign of early 1864 during which he suffered a debilitating leg injury that effectively ending his military career.

After the war, Franklin moved to Hartford, Connecticut where he was Vice President of the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company. He also put his antebellum military experience to good use as a civil engineer, most notably with the modern Connecticut State Capitol building. He died in 1903.

Those wishing to learn more about Franklin can read From First to Last: The Life of William B. Franklin by Mark A. Snell.

Special thanks to Jeremy D’Entremont and LighthouseFriends.com for help narrowing my search regarding Franklin’s lighthouse projects.

Josh Liller is the Historian and Collections Manager for Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. He also serves as a Historian for the Florida Lighthouse Association. He is co-author of the revised edition of Five Thousand Years On The Loxahatchee: A Pictorial History of Jupiter-Tequesta, Florida (2019) and editor of the second edition of The Florida Lighthouse Trail (2020).


High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02455.15 Author/Creator: Unknown Place Written: s.l. Type: Print Date: 1861-1877 Pagination: 1 engraving : b&w 9 x 8 cm.

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Borgerkrig

Kort efter borgerkrigens begyndelse blev Franklin udnævnt til oberst i det 12. amerikanske infanteriregiment , men tre dage senere, den 17. maj 1861, blev han forfremmet til brigadegeneral for frivillige.

Østlige teater

Franklin blev oberst i det 12. amerikanske infanteri den 18. juni 1861. Han befalede en brigade ved Bull Run og blev derefter divisionschef i den nyoprettede Potomac-hær . Franklin blev forfremmet til brigadegeneral for frivillige den 20. august (tilbage dateret til 17. maj). I marts 1862 blev hæren dannet til korps, og Franklin blev udnævnt til at lede VI Corps, som han derefter ledede i halvøskampagnen . VI Corps så ikke omfattende kampe i Seven Days Battles , bortset fra dets 2. division, som forstærkede V Corps ved Gaines Mill. Franklin var en af ​​to korpskommandører (sammen med Erasmus Keyes fra IV Corps), der foreslog tilbagetog fra Richmond snarere end et modangreb. Han blev forfremmet til generalmajor den 4. juli 1862. Hans kommando var hos hovedhæren og deltog ikke i den nordlige Virginia-kampagne .

I Maryland-kampagnen så han handling mod general Howell Cobb i Crampton's Gap under slaget ved South Mountain . Han ryddede Crampton's Gap, men gik ikke længere frem for at ramme bagsiden af Stonewall Jacksons tropper, der belejrede Harpers Ferry , hvilket bidrog til de faktorer, der forårsagede den største overgivelse af føderale styrker under borgerkrigen, der skete. i slaget ved Harpers Ferry .

Under slaget ved Antietam var hans VI-korps i reserve, og Franklin forgæves forsøgte at overbevise generalmajor Edwin V. Sumner om at lade hans korps udnytte et svagt punkt i det konfødererede center, men Sumner, der overgik ham, nægtede.

Franklin var en trofast allieret af generalmajor George B. McClellan , en del af grunden til at han ikke blev anset for kommando af hæren af ​​Potomac efter sidstnævntes afskedigelse i november 1862. Under slaget ved Fredericksburg befalede han en af ​​de tre så -kaldte store divisioner - Left Grand Division , der bestod af I og VI Corps. Franklin gik frem mod den konfødererede højre flanke under kommando af løjtnant Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson over Rappahannock-floden syd for Fredericksburg, Virginia . Han undlod at styrke sin underordnede generalmajor George G. Meade i tide og mistede muligheden for at bryde igennem de konfødererede positioner. Potomac-kommandørens hær generalmajor Ambrose E. Burnside beskyldte Franklin personligt for denne fiasko, skønt han ser ud til at have udført sine ordrer nøjagtigt. Andre, der var der, ville være uenige i, at Franklin udførte hans ordrer nøjagtigt. "Havde den venstre store division kraftigt udført sin rolle i den tidligere bevægelse, kan nogen betvivle resultatet? Jeg kan ikke tro det. Hvis Meade, Reynolds eller Hancock havde kommandoen til venstre den dag, er jeg sikker på, at Fredericksburg ville have haft blevet registreret en strålende sejr i stedet for en forfærdelig slagtning. "

Da politisk intriger fejede EU-hæren efter slaget ved Fredericksburg og den berygtede muddermarsch , blev Franklin angiveligt en af ​​de vigtigste tilskyndere til kabalen mod Burnsides ledelse. Burnside forårsagede betydelige politiske vanskeligheder for Franklin til gengæld og aflagde skadeligt vidnesbyrd for den magtfulde amerikanske kongres blandede komité for krigsførelse og holdt ham fra feltarbejde i flere måneder. Da Joseph Hooker overtog kommandoen over hæren den februar, fratrådte Franklin sin kommando og nægtede at tjene under ham. Under Gettysburg-kampagnen i 1863 var Franklin hjemme i York, Pennsylvania, og hjalp maj. Granville Haller med at udvikle planer for forsvar af regionen mod et forventet fjendens angreb.

Trans-Mississippi Theatre

Til sidst blev Franklin tildelt Department of the Gulf i New Orleans under general Nathaniel P. Banks . I september 1863 forsøgte han at erobre Sabine Pass under det andet slag ved Sabine Pass . Operationen sluttede pludseligt, efter at den kombinerede unionshær og flådes invasionskraft på fire kanobåde og syv troppetransporter under Franklins kommando mistede to krigsskibe.

I marts – maj 1864 deltog Franklin i den ulykkelige Red River-kampagne under Banks for at besætte det østlige Texas som kommandør for XIX Corps. Den 8. april 1864 blev han såret i benet i slaget ved Mansfield i Louisiana, men blev hos tropperne. Efter slaget ved Pleasant Hill blev han erstattet af generalmajor William H. Emory, da hans tilstand blev stadig værre. I juli 1864, da han var på lægeorlov , blev han fanget af maj. Harry Gilmors konfødererede partisaner i et tog nær Washington, DC, men undslap den følgende dag. Resten af ​​hans hærskarriere var begrænset af handicap fra hans sår og blev skæmmet af hans række politiske og kommandoniske ulykker. Han var ude af stand til at tjene i flere seniorkommandoer, selv med hjælp fra sin West Point- klassekammerat, ven og fremtidige præsident, Ulysses S. Grant .


GENERAL WILLIAM BUEL FRANKLIN, USA - History


From Wikipedia:
William Buel Franklin (February 27, 1823 – March 8, 1903) was a career United States Army officer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He rose to the rank of a corps commander in the Army of the Potomac, fighting in several notable early battles in the Eastern Theater.

Early lifeWilliam B. Franklin was born in York, Pennsylvania. His father Walter S. Franklin was Clerk of the United States House of Representatives from 1833 until his death in 1838. One of his great-grandfathers, Samuel Rhoads, was a member of the First Continental Congress from Pennsylvania.

Future President James Buchanan, then a Senator, appointed Franklin to the United States Military Academy in June 1839. Franklin graduated first in his class in 1843, before joining the Topographical Engineers and being sent to the Rocky Mountains for two years to survey the region. He then was assigned to duty in the administrative offices in Washington, D.C. He served under Philip Kearny during the Mexican-American War and received a brevet promotion to first lieutenant in the Battle of Buena Vista.

Upon his return from Mexico, Franklin served as a professor at West Point for three years before supervising the construction of several lighthouses along the Atlantic Coast in New Hampshire and Maine. In 1852, he married Anna L. Clarke, a daughter of Matthew St. Clair Clarke who had preceded his father as Clerk of the House of Representatives. The couple had no children. In March 1857, he was named the supervisor of the Light House Board and oversaw the construction program across the nation.

In November 1859, he replaced Montgomery C. Meigs as the engineer supervising construction of the United States Capitol Dome. In March 1861, just before the outbreak of the Civil War, he was appointed as the supervising architect for the new Treasury Building in Washington.

Civil War
Soon after the beginning of the Civil War, Franklin was appointed colonel of the 12th U.S. Infantry, but three days later, on May 17, 1861, he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. He quickly rose from brigade to corps command in the Army of the Potomac and saw action in the Peninsula Campaign, the Battle of Antietam, and the Battle of Fredericksburg. He was promoted to major general on July 4, 1862.

At Antietam, his VI Corps was in reserve and he tried in vain to convince Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner to allow his corps to exploit a weakened position in the Confederate center. At Fredericksburg, he commanded the "Left Grand Division" (two corps, under Maj. Gens. John F. Reynolds and William F. Smith), which failed in its assaults against the Confederate right, commanded by Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Army of the Potomac commander Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside blamed Franklin personally for this failure, although he appears to have executed his orders exactly.

As political intrigue swept the Union Army after Fredericksburg and the infamous Mud March, Franklin was alleged to be a principal instigator of the "cabal" against Burnside's leadership. Burnside caused considerable political difficulty for Franklin in return, offering damaging testimony before the powerful U.S. Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and keeping him from field duty for months. During the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign, Franklin was home in York, Pennsylvania, and assisted Maj. Granville Haller in developing plans for the defense of the region versus an expected enemy attack.

Franklin was reassigned to corps command in the Department of the Gulf and participated in the ill-fated 1864 Red River Campaign. He was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana. Returning from the field with his injury, he was captured by Maj. Harry Gilmor's Confederate partisans in a train near Washington, D.C., in July 1864, but escaped the following day. The remainder of his army career was limited by disability from his wound and marred by his series of political and command misfortunes. He was unable to serve in any more senior commands, even with the assistance of his West Point classmate, friend, and future president, Ulysses S. Grant.

Postbellum career
Following the Civil War, General Franklin relocated to Hartford, Connecticut, and became the general manager of the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company until 1888, as well as a director on the boards of several manufacturing concerns. He supervised the construction of the Connecticut State Capitol Building, and served on various boards and commissions, where his engineering experience proved helpful in expanding Hartford's public water service.

In 1872, Franklin was approached by a Pennsylvania and New Jersey faction of the Democratic Party to run against Horace Greeley for the party's nomination as President of the United States, a task he declined, citing a need for party unity. He was vice president of a Hartford area insurance company, and a delegate to the 1876 Democratic National Convention. In June 1888, after his retirement from Colt Firearms, he was named as the U.S. Commissioner-General for the Paris Exposition of 1889.

William Franklin died in Hartford, Connecticut, and is buried near his birthplace in York, Pennsylvania, in Prospect Hill Cemetery. The York Country Heritage Trust preserves many of his papers and personal effects from the Civil War.


William Buel Franklin, an American soldier, born in York, Penn., Feb. 27,1823. He graduated first in his class at West Point in 1843, and was stationed on the survey of the northern lakes. In the summer of 1845 he accompanied an expedition to the South pass of the Rocky mountains under command of Brig. Gen. Kearny, and in the following year was engaged in the survey of Ossabaw sound, Georgia. He served on the staff of Gen. Taylor at the battle of Buena Vista, and was brevetted first lieutenant for his part in it. In June, 1848, he was ordered to West Point as assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy and in February, 1852, he was appointed professor of natural and experimental philosophy and civil engineering at the New York city free academy. During the next eight years he was continually employed as consulting engineer and inspector on various public works, particularly harbors and lighthouses, having been engineer secretary of the lighthouse board, and superintendent of the capitol extension and other government buildings at Washington. On May 14, 1861, he was appointed colonel of the 12th (new) regiment of infantry, and in July was assigned a brigade in Heintzelman's division of the army of N. E. Virginia. At the battle of Bull Run he was in the hottest of the fight," according to the official report of Gen. McDowell. In August he received the commission of brigadier general of volunteers, to date from May 17, 1861. In September he was appointed to the command of a division in the army of the Potomac. Sent to reenforce Gen. McClellan after the evacuation of Yorktown, he transported his division by water to West Point on York river, and repulsed the enemy under Gens. Whiting and G. W. Smith, who attempted to prevent his landing, May 7, 1862. On the 15th he was appointed to the command of the 6th provisional army corps.

During the movement to the James river, which began June 27, he was charged with covering the retreat, and repulsed the enemy on the right bank of the Chickahominy, June 27 and 28, and again in conjunction with the corps of Gen. Sumner at Savage's Station, June 29. He commanded at the battle of White Oak swamp bridge on the 30th, and the next day joined the main body of the army on the banks of the James. He was promoted to the rank of major general of volunteers July 4, and brevet brigadier general in the regular army, June 30. In the battle of South mountain, Sept. 14, he distinguished himself by storming Crampton's gap. He was in the battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, and in November was placed in command of the left grand division of the army of the Potomac, including the 1st and 6th corps, which he commanded in the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13. The next year he was transferred to the department of the gulf, commanded the expedition to Sabine pass, September, 1863, and was second in command in Banks's Red river expedition, April, 1864, being wounded in the battle of Sabine cross roads.

He was brevetted major general in the United States army March 13, 1865, and resigned March 15,1866. He is now (1874) vice president and general agent of the Colt firearms manufacturing company, at Hartford, Conn., and consulting engineer of the commission for the erection of a new state house.


Civil War Collections

York County and Adams County Civil War Veterans

In 1860, York County’s population was over 68,000, with York Borough having over 8,600 residents. Estimates vary, but over 6,200 York County residents served during the Civil War. Following the war, many did not return to York County due to death or relocation.

Almost two decades ago, author Dennis W. Brandt began his research and compiled a database of York and Adams County residents who served in the Civil War. This database reflects material found in the York County History Center’s Library & Archives, the National Archives in Washington, DC, the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and private collections. Gleaning data from letters, military records, including pension files, diaries, cemetery inscriptions and other source material, he has accumulated data on nearly 11,000 Civil War soldiers, mostly, but not exclusively, from York and Adams Counties. Also included are soldiers from adjacent counties and a small sampling from other Pennsylvania regions, Maryland, and nine other states.

No database of this size and complexity can contain perfect data, and Brandt doesn’t suggest it does, as the occasional “?” in the database indicates. Anyone who has additional data on a soldier in the database, or who has information about a York or Adams County soldier that is missing from the database, is cordially invited to contact the York County History Center and add their information to the database. We are interested in any soldier, white or African American who was from York or Adams County, enlisted in either county, served with a regiment from either county, or who may have lived in either location after the war. We are also interested in women who may have regularly traveled with their husbands or sons during the War.

The link above titled “US Colored Troops of York County” is another database featuring information on over 200 black Civil War veterans’ records for York County. This data was compiled by the York County History Center and local historian Rebecca Anstine from census and pension records, and photocopies of many of these soldiers’ records are housed in the archives at the History Center.

Pennsylvania Civil War Civilian Damage Claims

(Pennsylvania Border Claims)

Following the Civil War, Pennsylvania residents who lost horses or material goods could file border claims with the state government for damages rendered by the Confederate Army or the state militia. Allowable claims did not include livestock or poultry, and any damages caused by the Union Army of the Potomac had to be filed with the Federal government.

A database of these claims, compiled by historian Scott L. Mingus Sr., includes both state and federal claims, where available and still legible. Mingus, an executive at P.H. Glatfelter, is a sanctioned Civil War tour guide for the York County History Center and the author of seven books on the war, plus several others on the hobby of miniature wargaming. He maintains a popular blog on York County Civil War history, Cannonba!!.

General William B. Franklin Collection

General William B. Franklin was born in York on February 27, 1823, the oldest son of Walter S. Franklin, a Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sarah Buel Franklin. Franklin attended West Point and was appointed the commander of the Sixth Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. In November 1862, the Union was defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and Franklin became a central figure in the ensuing political battle over the direction and leadership of the War. Franklin returned to York briefly before being re-assigned to the Department of the Gulf. While in York, he launched a fierce, life-long campaign to defend his reputation. Following the War, Franklin moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he became the Vice President of the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company. Franklin was a prominent civic leader, serving as the President of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers from 1880 to 1899. Upon his death in 1903, Franklin returned to York for the last time and was buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery.

The General William B. Franklin Collection contains many letters written by or to Franklin throughout his life, as well as many of his diaries, journals, military records, letters and dispatches written during the Civil War. Additionally, the collection contains many of Franklin’s personal papers from the post-War years, including items related to Franklin’s civic activities. The collection is a valuable source of information for researchers interested in the Civil War, the Battle of Fredericksburg, and the politics surrounding that battle.


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