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 Posted: Thu Sep 14th, 2006 08:26 pm
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EricJacobson
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Actually the river was not so much the problem as the bridges being out.  Schofield was forced to stay at Franklin while the Federal engineers repaired those bridges.  As Jackson's Division of Forrest's Corps showed by getting across the river and engaging Wilson's cavalry the Harpeth was fordable.  But with all of the Yankee cavalry east of the river, some 5,000 of Thomas Wood's troops positioned near the pike north of Franklin to protect the route of retreat, and Federal artillery in Ft. Granger that could sweep the ground east of the river if any flanking maneuver was tried, Hood, in my opinion, did not think moving around the Federal left en masse was a viable option.  In fact, the only reason Hood sent Forrest across the river at all was to exploit any advantages the infantry might gain.

As to the feasability of attacking the Union right, at least two factors come into play.  First, a significant ridge juts northward from the Winstead Hill area, preventing a great deal of maneuvering on that side of the field.  That is why Bate had to be rerouted just to get into place on Brown's left.  Secondly, and tied in with the terrain difficulties, was the lack of daylight.

Eric

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