Saturday morning, Melissa and I had the pleasure of touring both the Carter House and Carnton Plantation with Sam who is well-studied on the Battle of Franklin (and the war in general) and had long awaited the opportunity to share what he knew of the battle with us.
Over the course of the day, we learned of Fountain Branch Carter who owned and operated the largest cotton gin in Williamson County and whose property was near the center of action during the battle. Several of his out buildings were showered with bullets and one of them is said to be the most bullet-riddled building still standing from the war. In the aftermath of the battle, the house became a makeshift hospital for the wounded, and blood stains can be seen on portions of the floor to this day.
We then visited the Carnton Plantation, founded by Randal McGavock (1768-1843) and named after his father’s birthplace in Ireland. His son, John, would inherit the estate and, along with his wife Carrie, become instrumental in the organization of the largest privately owned military cemetery, containing the graves of over 1,500 Confederate soldiers. In an amazingly selfless effort, the McGavocks identified as many soldiers as possible and meticulously catalogued their names so that their brave service might not be forgotten.
Carnton is well-known for its service as a makeshift hospital following the Battle of Franklin—similar to the service rendered at the Carter House—as well as the spot at which the bodies of Confederate Generals Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F. Strahl and Hiram Granbury would lie; officers all lost in the Battle of Franklin.