Franklin is the southwesternmost independent city in Hampton Roads, Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,582. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Franklin with Southampton County for statistical purposes.
The city of Franklin had its beginnings in the 1830s as a railroad stop along the Blackwater River. During this era, the river was used to transport goods to and from Albemarle Sound in North Carolina.
In 1862, the Civil War came to Franklin, in what was referred to as the Joint Expedition against Franklin. As several U.S. Navy flag steamships, led by the USS Commodore Perry, tried to pass through Franklin on the Blackwater River, a band of local Confederates opened fire on the ships. As stated by an officer aboard one of the ships, "The fighting was the same—Here and there high banks with dense foliage, a narrow and very crooked stream, with frequent heavy firing of musketry."
In all, the battle yielded five naval casualties killed in action and 16 wounded. As the naval vessels retreated, the Confederates tried to block the narrow Blackwater River by felling large trees across it. In the end, the Confederate attempts failed, as no soldiers were captured and no ships were lost. A total of seven Medals of Honor were awarded to individual seamen for their distinguished service.
It was not until 1887 that Franklin began to see significant growth.