33rd MS., surgeon writes about Franklin aftermath

Surgeon W.B. Wall (C.S.A.)
Army Tenn.,

Dec. 13, 1864

My Dear Wife,

I hope you have recvd. some of the letters I have written lately as in them I gave you all the news from your relatives. They were well. No letter from you yet of later date than Oct. 21st. The time seems very long to me. It snowed here about a week ago. It is still upon the ground. The weather has been quite cold the thermometer standing from 12 to 15 degrees below zero. You would probably like to know how I am situated. Well, Dr. Phillips & myself took possession of a negro cabin that was nearly filled with corn. This we had thrown in the loft to the back of the cabin leaving us about half the room. It is well pointed & has an excellent fire place. We have some boxes & broken chairs to sit on so you see we are doing finely. At night we put down hay & spread our blankets on that for sleeping. We get plenty fat beef to eat & have but little to do except make ourselves comfortable. I have had only one man to report to me sick this month & there wasn’t much the matter with him. I don’t know how the men out on the lines stand the cold as they do. They have no extra amount of clothing, but few blankets & scarce of wood they suffer with cold, but endure it without much complaint. The wind is blowing fiercely today. We are in camp four miles from Nashville. You will have probably killed hogs before you get this. Let me know how much you made. Will you have corn enough or have you bought more? Like all of us I know you are anxious to learn what the army is doing & what it will do next. Well all I can tell you is we have dug trenches & are lying in them hoping the enemy will attack us. I have no thought we will attack them at Nashville and as to what we will do next I can give you no intimation for I have not the least knowledge of Gen. Hood’s intentions. Now, when will the war end? This is a hard question & one I am entirely unable to answer. I have no thought it will ever end in our subjugation. It makes me sad to think of being separated from you so much & so long, but I hope before a great while to be where you can at least visit me occasionally. Don’t allow yourself to become despondent but try to keep cheerful looking forward to a better day. Tell Laura and Mannie not to forget Papa. Hug & kiss them for me. Much love to Mrs. Oliver. I feel under deep & lasting obligations to her for her kindness to you & the children. Tell all the servants howdy & tell them to take care of the stock & not let it stray off or starve. I hope next year if the war continues to be where I can come home more frequently. I don’t wish to quit the service if I can remain in it & give home the necessary attention. I wrote you that Frank Robinson [probably was C. Franklin Robertson] was killed on the [Nov.] 30th at Franklin & Lt. Brown had his arm broken.

Your devoted Husband,

W.B. Wall

William B.[Burgeess] Hall enlisted as a surgeon in the 33rd Miss. Infantry, Company I.

According to Wikipedia:

Thomas planned to strike both of Hood’s flanks, with a minor attack on the Confederate right and the major effort on the left. Before daylight on December 15, the division led by Maj. Gen. James Steedman hit the Confederate right and held down one corps there for the rest of the day. The attack on the left, under Schofield, leading two corps and a division, began after noon with a charge up Montgomery Hill and it had a devastating effect on the entire Confederate line. Hood’s army was battered, but not routed. Fighting stopped at dark and Hood reformed his men for the second day of battle. He established a main line of resistance along the base of a ridge about two miles south of the former location, throwing up new works and fortifying hills on their flanks. Union troops marched out close to the Confederate’s new line and began constructing fieldworks on the morning of December 16. Once again Thomas planned to attack on both flanks, but the initial attack on the strongly fortified Confederate right was unsuccessful. It was followed by the stronger left flank attack under Schofield, Smith, and Wilson, which succeeded. Their success inspired Thomas J. Wood and James B. Steedman to resume their attack on the right flank, which overran the Confederates. Hood’s army collapsed and fled in a heavy rain in the direction of Franklin.

The 33rd Mississippi lost its flag in the Battle of Franklin.

Collection of the Old Capitol Museum of Mississippi History, Jackson, MS.

The 33rd Miss., Company B, were known as the Amite County Guards.

The following 33rd men were killed at Franklin. It is likely that Surgeon Wall attended their wounds and/or their deaths: 1st Lt. John Powell, (Acting Major when killed Franklin, Co.B.), Alex Stewart (Co.,B.). For a complete list of the 33rd’s casualties see this site.

Dr. George C. Phillips, Surgeon for the 22nd Mississippi, watching the Battle with Surgeon W.B. Hall on top of a hill wrote, “This was the first and only time I ever heard our bands playing upon a battlefield and at the beginning of a charge…When within three hundred yards of their breastworks a cannon boomed from their fort (Granger) across the little river north of the town. This seemed to be the signal waited for. A sheet of flame and smoke burst from the entire crescent of the enemy’s breastworks, answered by the Rebel yell and musketry fire from our men. In a moment the whole valley was so filled with smoke that nothing could be seen but the flashes of cannon and musketry.”

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