Union Major General William Buel Franklin


Item No. CV26671 Category


Carte view of Pennsylvania native Major General William Buel Franklin. He would begin the war with a commission to colonel of the 12th U.S. Infantry but would be promoted to brigadier general just days later. Franklin would command a brigade during the First Battle of Bull Run before being appointed head of the VI Corps which he would lead during the Peninsular Campaign. Following the campaign he would be promoted to major general in July, 1862. During the Maryland Campaign he would fight at Crampton’s Gap and the Battle of South Mountain. His lack of action against Stonewall Jackson following Crampton’s Gap would be partially to blame for the largest surrender of Union troops following the Battle of Harper’s Ferry. Next he would command a division during the Battle of Fredericksburg where he would advance against Stonewall Jackson’s troops to the south of Fredericksburg. He failed however to reinforce General George Meade’s troops in a timely fashion and lost an opportunity to break through Confederate positions. General Burnside would place the blame of the failure to score a victory at Fredericksburg on Franklin’s shoulders despite many who stated that Franklin had executed his movements exactly as ordered. Following the infamous Mud March, Franklin would become an outspoken opponent of General Burnside. In return Burnside become a thorn in Franklin’s side and would testify against him in front of the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of War which kept Franklin out of field command for months. As Joseph Hooker took command of the Army, Franklin resigned refusing to serve under him. He was later reassigned to the Department of the Gulf in New Orleans in 1863. In September of that year he would attempt to capture Sabine Pass but the campaign would end abruptly after he lost two war ships in the attempt. Next Franklin would participate in the failed Red River Campaign during the spring of 1864. He would be wounded in the leg in early April during the Battle of Mansfield. William would remain with his troops but following the Battle of Pleasant Hill his health had declined from the wound to the point that he was removed and replaced by General William Emory. While on medical leave in July, 1864 Franklin would be captured by Confederate partisan rangers while on board a train near Washington D.C. but would manage to escape the next day. Plagued by the wound and his lack luster success in command, he would spend the remainder of the war on the sidelines. Following the war he would become vice president of the Colt Firearms Company. This is a very nice view of Franklin back marked by Brady with a second back mark by Selby & McCauley of Baltimore.

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