Soon after passing this point, the Southern assault came within range of Federal artillery. Just west of here, an advanced line of 3,000 Union troops began to fall back, and the Confederates pursued them into the main Union line. In moments, the battle became a mass of confusion. On the western and eastern flanks, Confederate soldiers fell in ghastly numbers, torn apart by rapid rifle and cannon fire. Yet in the center, as the Union advanced line fell back, their comrades briefly held their fire, allowing the charging Confederates to break through.
A massive hole opened along the Federal center, and for nearly thirty minutes combat along both sides of Columbia Pike and around the Carter House turned exceptionally violent. Only through the efforts of a number of Federal recruits and several veteran regiments was the Confederate assault halted. From that point onward, the battle degenerated into hand-to-hand fighting that shocked even the most hardened soldiers.
After three fierce hours, the battle slowly died away. By 9pm it was over, and nearly 10,000 men were dead, wounded, missing, or captured. Of these, nearly 7,500 were Confederates making Franklin one of their most lopsided defeats of the war.
For their actions at the Battle of Franklin, eleven Union soldiers would later be awarded
the Medal of Honor. Among them was Major Arthur MacArthur, father of Douglas MacArthur who would go on to great game in World War II and Korea.
At 4 pm on November 30, 1864, the last major Confederate assault of the Civil War unfolded here. Nearly 20,000 Confederate troops advanced across these fields and toward an equally large Union army positioned around the southern edge of Franklin, just as a late autumn sun began to set.