Franklin is an independent city in Virginia. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Franklin with Southampton county for statistical purposes. The population was 8,582 in 2010.
The city of Franklin had its humble beginnings in the 1830s as a railroad stop along the Blackwater River. During this era, the Blackwater River was used to transport goods to and from the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina.
In 1862 the American Civil War came to Franklin, in what was referred to as the Joint Expedition Against Franklin As several United States 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 casualites and 16 wounded. As the naval vessels retreated, the Confederates tried to block the narrow Blackwater River by felling large trees across the width. In the end, the Confederate attempts failed as no soldiers were captured and no ships were lost. A total of 7 Medals of Honor were awarded to individual seamen for their distinguished service.