Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tenn.

Twenty miles south of Nashville sits the beautiful and historic city of Franklin, Tennessee.  Established in 1799, Franklin is the quintessential Southern town, boasting a rich history, proud traditions, and a vibrant local culture.

The highlight – if you’ll excuse the term – of the city’s history was the November 30, 1864 Battle of Franklin, the so-called “Gettysburg of the West,” in which nearly 60,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in and around the small town.  After less than six hours of fighting, the two armies suffered over 8,500 casualties, including fourteen Confederate generals (six of whom were either killed or mortally wounded).  A crushing defeat for Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, the Battle of Franklin would prove to be a major turning point for the Confederacy’s Western Campaign.

Just outside Franklin proper stands historic Carnton Plantation, the mid-nineteenth century mansion of the Randall McGavock family.  Though the house escaped any major damage during the fighting, soon after the hostilities ceased, retreating Confederate forces began bringing their wounded and dying inside the home, soon filling the entire house, attic, porches, and outbuildings.

Over the next couple weeks, Carnton would continue to serve as one of the main field hospitals for the Army of Tennessee, with the McGavock family working alongside Confederate doctors and surgeons as the soldiers’ primary caregivers.

Today, almost 150 years later, bloodstains still remain throughout the dark heart pine floorboards and remnants of the five hours of fighting can still be discovered around the home and grounds.  Carnton Plantation is open seven days a week for tours and special events, and hosts numerous social and historic functions throughout the year. For more information, visit

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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