Abram Good

"Abram Good"

Abraham Good, a resident of Melrose, IL enlisted in the 79th IL Volunteer Infantry, on August 13, 1862, within a few days of his father's enlistment in the same regiment. Two Abraham Goods in the same regiment created some confusion for awhile. Abe II, as I shall refer to him here, was assigned to headquarters most of his duty acting as a teamster and provost guard. He was also listed in Company I as "Abram" Good.

The 79th was mustered out of service on 12 June 1865, but were not
officially discharged until 23 June, after arrival at camp Butler, IL on 15
June. Final pay and discharge was on 23 Jun. Maybe Abe II did not return to
Camp Butler, as there is no record as such. He apparently did not die while he was a prisoner because only one death was recorded of a POW from Melrose, IL and his name was Private Joseph M. Rolston, who enlisted the day before Abe. The Rolston family settled around Augusta County, VA which is the county directly south of Shenandoah County, VA. The author wonders if the families may have known each other back in Virginia. At any rate, these two former southerners joined the Yankee cause.

The 79th was attacked by a Confederate division led by Pat Cleborne at
Franklin, TN and engaged for 4 hours where they lost 83 soldiers to wounds,
death and capture. Since the command was only 210 men strong at the time,
that accounts for a loss of almost 40%. Abe II was captured during or
immediately after this engagement. He was listed as POW 11/30/64 at Franklin, TN. It would be interesting to find where he was imprisoned. Five months in a Reb prison, in the winter, would be a hell of an ordeal.

"Abram" would have been in the major  battles of Stones Creek, Liberty Gap,
Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Mission Ridge, Rocky-Faced Ridge, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy, and Franklin.

Mark Kimmel visited the battlefield at Franklin, TN and offered this overview. "It is not many miles from Stones River in Murfreesboro and the city of Nashville, TN.  The Franklin battlesite has an original house and some outbuildings that were in existence at the time of the 1864 battle.  The Confederates, for the most part, made some very dismal decisions.  I'm surprised that any Union troops were taken prisoner.  Back to the buildings--a clapboard-sided building there still features a great many holes caused by musket fire.  A poignant side story to the battle involves a young soldier who grew up in the house around which the battle seemed to revolve.  He was wounded severely and was brought into his own parlor that had been set up as a field hospital.  He died in his own
home after 'defending' it."

Research has not determined Abe II's fate after his capture. In investigating the order of battle at Franklin, I found that the 79th Il was in the Second Division commanded by
Brig. Gen. George D. Wagner. They were assigned to a forward skirmisher position. The union commander, Major General John M. Schofield, anticipated that the Confederates would attack the left of the entrenched Union line. Supposedly, he ordered Wagner to attack the Reb flank if this occurred. The skirmishers were instead hit with a heavy frontal assault and overrun sustaining heavy losses to death, wounds and capture. Abraham Good II was one of those captured.

The Federal Army had arrived in Franklin around 1:00 that morning. Major General John M. Schofield led the operation and woke up the Carter Family, commandeering their home as his headquarters.

The soldiers were ordered to dig in around buildings. At 4 PM the boys from the south commenced marching on the center and over ran the forward line of Wagner’s troops and continued to the Carter farm.

The fighting soon became brutal and fiendishly savage, with men bayoneted and clubbed to death in the Carter yard. Former Director of the Carter house museum, Thomas Cartwright, gives a very graphic account of the savage fighting outside the Carter House. A Confederate soldier was bayoneted on the front steps of the Carter House. Men were clubbing, clawing, punching, stabbing and choking each other. The smoke from the canons and guns was so thick that you could not tell friend from foe.

During the five hours of fighting, the Carter Family took refuge in their basement. 23 men, women and children (many under the age of 12) were safely protected while the horrible cries of war rang out above them. The head of the family, Fountain Branch Carter, a 67-year old widower, had seen 3 of his sons fight for the Confederacy. One son, Theodrick (Tod), was serving as an aid for General T.B. Smith on the battlefield and saw his home for the first time in 3 years. Crying out, "Follow me boys, I'm almost home," Captain Tod Carter was mortally wounded and died 2 days later at the Carter House.
After the battle, like so many homes in Franklin, the parlour of the Carter House was converted into a Confederate field hospital, along with the Lotz House and witnessed many surgeries and amputations.

Around midnight, the Federal Army retreated to Nashville to join the forces of General George Thomas.

Federal Casualties - 2,500 men
The 23rd Corps lost 958, and the 4th Corps lost 1,368. 189 men were killed, 1,033 were wounded, 1,104 captured and 287 cavalry casualties. Only 1 Federal General was wounded (Major General David Stanley, Corps Commander).
Confederate Casualties - 7,000 men
More than 1,750 men were killed outright or died of mortal wounds, 3,800 seriously wounded and 702 captured (not including cavalry casualties). 15 out of 28 Confederate Generals were casualties. 65 field grade officers were lost. Some infantry regiments lost 64 % of their strength at Franklin. There were more men killed in the Confederate Army of Tennessee in the 5- hour battle than in the 2-day Battle of Shiloh, the 3-day Battle of Stones River, and the 7-day Campaign in Virginia for the Federal Army.
To this day. It is still debated the curious command decisions of General Wagner. Did he disobey orders, and order his command to hold the line at all cost? He was away in headquarters, and left the command to his executive officer. Was Opdyke, one of his brigade commanders refusing orders form Wagner to deploy alongside the skirmish line, or was he actually ordered back as reserve? His action in counterattacking at the Carter farm when the Confederates broke through certainly saved the Union for the day, and his reputation as well. Was General Wagner drinking, as even his enemy Gen. Hood implies?

After the Battle of Franklin, Brig. Gen. George D. Wagner resigned in disgrace; Abe Good II was lost to further history. His military records stop with his being captured during this fight, and he never returned to be discharged, never returned home.

By L. L. Kimmel
Revised 22apr2011


Military records
Enlistment lists for Clark County, IL
Illinois: Roster of Officers and Enlisted Men
http://www.carter-house.org/the-battle-of-franklin/ accessed 22apr2011
The Carter House

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