Marching Forward is a wonderful two-DVD limited edition production from the folks at the Lotz House, one of the houses in the way of the Confederate onslaught at the Battle of Franklin (it’s right across the street from the Carter House for anyone who doesn’t know). J.T. Thompson and Thomas Cartwright deserve much of the credit for putting out this wonderful keepsake for anyone who was at the Franklin 150th on November 30, 2014, or who wishes they had been! For years, these two have been pouring heart and soul into production of video programs tied to the battle.
Volume 1 of the set records memorable comments made at the battle commemoration by Eric Jacobson of the Battle of Franklin Trust, J.T. Thompson of the Lotz House, and others. The Carter House and farm, ground zero in this ferocious night battle, is featured, and so are the luminaria placed in honor of those killed in the battle. A Union reenactor with a wonderful voice sings a beautiful song in commemoration. Scenes of the earlier Franklin reenactment are interspersed with the day’s remembrances. A “Historians’ Dinner” was held near Carnton Plantation on the evening of the 30th, precisely 150 years after the height of the carnage, and the lucky attendees got a Civil War themed meal followed by the opportunity to hear remarks by a number of distinguished historians and preservation activists who have contributed research on aspects of the battle.
The best known historian at the dinner, 92-year-old Ed Bearss, is the subject of volume 2 of the set (his remarks at the dinner are in vol. 1). It is comprised of Bearss’ Franklin Battlefield Tour, where the esteemed Civil War expert took a lucky group of tour members on a trip to key points in the battle, with emphasis on Winstead Hill and the area around the Carter farm. Bearss actually made the 2-mile march commemorating the route the Confederate Army took going north toward Franklin on that fateful day–he started at the very rear of the column and out-marched most folks moving up to the front by the time everyone reached the Carter and Lotz houses. His tour program is integrated with photos of key figures who fought in the battle and maps to aid the viewer in figuring out who was where and what was going on at a given time.
Available online from the Lotz House at www.lotzhouse.com or at Franklin area retailers $24.99.
-Courier book review by Edith Politz
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