'Cooter' visits Civil War event in Franklin

Friday, September 19, 2014

By Karen Hall


A man whom many remember as Cooter Davenport in "The Dukes of Hazzard," Ben Jones, was in Franklin last weekend at the Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Rally.

Jones is the new SCV Chief of Heritage Operations, and has written an editorial in the September/October issue of Confederate Veteran called "Forward The Colors," with the subhead, "Together, solidly together, we can do extraordinary things." In it, he talks about the way people from other parts of the country demonize the South and the Confederacy. Jones describes the way NASCAR banned golfer Bubba Watson's General Lee (the Dukes' famous car from "The Dukes of Hazzard," which has a Confederate battle flag on its roof) from the pace lap of a race in Phoenix.

"With the slightest pressure from a few special interest groups, NASCAR forgot its roots, turned its back on people who built the sport, and insulted our ancestors." wrote Jones.

In Franklin last weekend he was among friends as they celebrated 150 years of heritage, history and honor at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park in Franklin. A Battle of Franklin historian led a tour of the battlefield, and nearby McGavock Cemetery and Carnton House were open for tours.

The Battle of Franklin was fought on Nov. 30, 1864, and was one of the worst disasters of the war for the Confederate States Army. Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee conducted numerous frontal assaults against fortified positions occupied by the Union forces under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield and was unable to break through or to prevent Schofield from a planned, orderly withdrawal to Nashville.

The Confederate assault resulted in devastating losses to the men and the leadership of the Army of Tennessee -- 14 Confederate generals (six killed or mortally wounded, seven wounded, and one captured) and 55 regimental commanders were casualties. After its defeat against Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas in the subsequent Battle of Nashville, the Army of Tennessee retreated with barely half the men with which it had begun the short offensive, and was effectively destroyed as a fighting force for the remainder of the war.

In addition to his part in "The Dukes of Hazzard" (1979 to 1985), Jones, 73, represented Georgia's 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for four years, and is a playwright and essayist.