We’re Almost Home

a Poem of the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864

by Daniel Mallock (February 2018)

The Green Hill, Winslow Homer, 1878


Such a sight I never saw and can never expect to see again . . . You could have walked all over the field upon dead bodies without stepping upon the ground . . . It was a wonder that any man escaped alive . . . I never saw anything like that field, and never want to again.Confederate Corps Commander Major General Frank Cheatham in a post war interview.


Cool Springs’ and Franklin’s office blocks

Are lit up at night, waiting


Beyond time, troops marched close

And came so close to home


Down Winstead Hillstraight lines,

Banners, bayonets, bitter hopes.


Rabbits rush ahead into blue

Lines steeled, awed, waiting.


Cool winter breeze moves flags,

All dream of home, love, life


Night shadows move across Franklin

Blue and gray in the night light fire

Cannon, sword, lurid shriek,

Guns with sharp shrill flames


Last, and first prayers to God to

Mother father somewhere close and


Away, far from Franklin’s red fields

Where hare are alive.


At the works they die in straight lines,

On the top Adams’ horse


Are the dead.


Behind the works children scream,

From their cellars see hell


Hear it, smell it, are shattered,

Wounded, haunted forever.


They lay for days on Franklin’s

They lie in straight lines in Franklin

Ground, the lost in trenches


In Cool Springs’ morning

At Franklin dawn is there

in dim light-almost home now


Wind moves the barren trees

Like flags on Franklin’s fields.



Daniel Mallock is a historian of the Founding generation and of the Civil War and is the author of Agony and Eloquence: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and a World of Revolution. He is a Contributing Editor at New English Review.

More by Daniel Mallock.


Help support New English Review.