Gillum, Jamie. Twenty-five Hours to Tragedy: The Battle of Spring Hill and Operations on November 29, 1864: Precursor to the Battle of Franklin. (Jamie Gillum (self published): 2014). 504 pages, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-1-4701-0681-2 $37.95 (Paperback).
Way back when I first started blogging on the Civil War, I was very interested in The Battle of Franklin and picked up Eric Jacobson’s book on the subject. As I began exploring Franklin on my blog, I was put in touch with Jamie Gillum, who had penned a self-published book on the Battle of Spring Hill. Jamie’s book was a collection of first person accounts of soldiers who had participated at Spring Hill on November 29, 1864.
Spring Hill is important because the results of that day, or more accurately, the lack of results, led directly to the Battle of Franklin the next day. John Bell Hood had initiated a flanking march on John Schofield’s Union army that Stonewall Jackson would have been proud of. The object was to cut Schofield off from Franklin and Nashville at Spring Hill, a stop on the Columbia Pike between Columbia and Franklin. Through a series of frustrating mistakes, Hood’s army failed to block the road to Franklin even though they could have easily done so. Schofield’s Army escaped to Franklin and Hood had little choice but to attack if he was going to win the campaign.
Jamie Gillum’s newly revised and expanded book on Spring Hill still contains his massive collection of first person accounts of the battle, collected painstakingly over decades of research. Jamie emailed me and explained:
While the first one basically stated facts, I insert opinion with a lot of additional information in this one. This version adds much to the experiences that [Confederate Division commander William B.] Bate had. There is also considerable addition to the Stewart, Forrest, Hood meeting. I truly hope it has been revised to be a far more enjoyable read.
Gillum’s introduction to the book explains that in order to understand Franklin, you must first go back and understand Spring Hill. His book is meant to give readers a chance to do just that, and while he does give his opinions in this revised edition, he also is more than willing to let the reader form his or her own opinion based on the collected first person accounts.
I’m about half way through the book’s 500+ pages, and Gillum does a very nice job of tying together the various accounts of the action. This isn’t just a collection of first person accounts, and the author succeeds, in my opinion, in shedding a lot of light on the confusing events of November 29, 1864. Hood’s flank march put his army in an excellent position to win a major victory, but victory still managed to elude him. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the 1864 Tennessee Campaign, and who wants to fully understand why the Battle of Franklin took place. Order yours today, and expect a full review in the near future here at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.
If you purchase and read the book, I’d love to hear your opinion on who was really to blame for the Confederate failure at Spring Hill.