A visit to Franklin TN and a tour of the Carnton Plantation

Friday 6/28/13… Today our plan was to drive about 30 miles outside of Nashville and visit Franklin TN. And specifically the Carnton Plantation and a look at downtown.

There is tons of history in Franklin but the Carnton Plantation, The Lotz House and the Carter House are 3 places in Franklin that have direct ties to the Battle of Franklin. Here is a link that really explains about the battle.

http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/franklin.html?tab=facts

We chose to visit the Carnton Plantation because of it’s history and because Diane happens to be in the middle of reading the book,,, Widow of the South.

The back porch. This is where the tour begins. Of course no pictures are allowed inside the house.

The back porch. This is where the tour begins. Of course no pictures are allowed inside the house.

Looking at the garden from the back porch

Looking at the garden from the back porch

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Carnton became the epicenter for tending the wounded and dying after the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. The home was situated less than one mile (1.6 km) from the location of the activity that took place on the far Union Eastern flank. Since most of the battle took place after dark, from 5 to 9 p.m., the McGavocks witnessed the fire and explosion of guns and muskets that permeated the sky over Franklin on that Indian summer evening.

More than 1,750 Confederates lost their lives at Franklin. It was on Carnton’s back porch that four Confederate generals’ bodies Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F Strahl and Hiram B Granbury—were laid out for a few hours after the Battle of Franklin.

Some 6,000 soldiers were wounded and another 1,000 were missing. After the battle, many Franklin-area homes were converted into temporary Field hospitals, but Carnton by far was the largest hospital site. Hundreds of Confederate wounded and dying were tended by Carrie McGavock and the family after the battle. Some estimates say that as many as 300 Confederate soldiers were cared for by the McGavocks inside Carnton alone. Scores, if not hundreds more, were spread out through the rest of the property, including in the slave cabins. Some wounded had to simply sleep outside during the frigid nights, when the temperature reached below zero.

The front of the house. The story has it that they could stand on the upper balcony and look out over thousands of soldiers marching by right before the battle.

The front of the house. The story has it that they could stand on the upper balcony and look out over thousands of soldiers marching by right before the battle.

Slave House. The 1860 census shows that the McGavocks owned 39 slaves in 11 dwellings over 640 acres.

Slave House. The 1860 census shows that the McGavocks owned 39 slaves in 11 dwellings over 640 acres.

One of the 4 rooms in the slave house where one entire family would live.

One of the 4 rooms in the slave house where one entire family would live.

Here are a couple more links you might find interesting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnton

http://www.midtneyewitnesses.com/still-standing/franklin/carnton

Our tour guide did a great job of getting all the facts across. We had a couple young people in our group so in her own words she would (flower) up the story a little. I have to wonder what she might have told us if there wasn’t kids in the group. From the blood stains that could still be seen on the floors I’m sure the stories could be very gruesome. Not that they weren’t already.

After the tour of the home we wandered outside and strolled through the Confederate Cemetery where in the spring of 1866, Col. John McGavock, seeing the deteriorating condition of the Confederate graves on the Franklin battlefield, set aside two acres of Carnton plantation as the nations largest private Confederate cemetery. The dead were reburied here. In 1890 the wooden markers were replaced with stone markers and the burial records were preserved by Col. McGavock’s wife Carrie.

The McGavock Confederate Cemetery

The McGavock Confederate Cemetery

And the McGavock Family cemetery.

The McGavock Family Cemetery

The McGavock Family Cemetery

There is so much history around the Battle of Franklin that there is no way I could write about all of it. So I hope the links I provided will be interesting reading to those that are interested and of course there are countless links out there about the Civil war.

Once we left the McGavock Plantation we headed towards downtown. Along the way we went by the Lotz House and the Carter House and well as the Cotton Gin Battle Memorial.

Once downtown we walked the downtown area and stopped into the Mellow Mushroom and had a pizza and locally brewed beer for lunch. It was a very popular place.

Then we carried on until we came across a frozen Yogurt shop called Sweet CeCe’s where we stopped in for a refreshing desert before jumping in the Jeep and heading back home before the 5 o’clock rush hour hit and traffic got bad.

Franklin was a pretty neat town and probably would be worth a couple day stay if we had it to do over again.

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