Mary Pearce, Robert Hicks, Julian Bibb

Franklin’s Charge announced this morning (10:30 CST) that they have met the goal of raising $500,000 in matching private funds that was established by the Civil War Trust back in December. This means that the total amount of $1.8 million needed to purchase the strip center anchored by Domino’s Pizza on Columbia Avenue has either been raised, pledged, or secured. The final piece of the funds is the State grant of $960,000 that was awarded by the Tennessee Department of Transportation in 2010.

Mike Grainger, Civil War Trust

Mike Grainger, who serves as vice chair of the Civil War Trust said, “To have conceived this park in the first place, and to have acquired several other parcels surrounding the strip center is great. We have seen the work that Franklin’s Charge has done in the past, and we were confident that the group could achieve the goal.”

The goal Grainger refers to is a robust one.  Plans are for the Carter Cotton Gin Interpretive Park to be constructed on the exact ground on which it originally stood in 1864, when the Battle of Franklin took place (30 November 1864). The park will include a replicated cotton gin based on the detailed designs by the Carter family, as well as a partial replication of the original Federal earthworks on the site.

Historians like Eric Jacobson have long-tenuated that the fighting that took place between Confederates and Federal units on this exact land during the battle was some of the fiercest ever waged in the Civil War. Much of the fighting took place at night, in hand-to-hand combat, and the outcome was in doubt to the very last hours of the action.  Confederate Generals Patrick Cleburne and John Adams fell mortally wounded within sight of the original cotton gin. There were nearly 10,000 total casualties within five hours at Franklin.

The original Carter Cotton Gin

Julian Bibb, a local attorney with Stite’s and Harbison and founding board member of Franklin’s Charge places this preservation project in its proper context, “We’ve gone from being known as one of America’s most threatened battlefields to a national model for battlefield preservation in less than a decade, thanks to the help of some incredible partners and supporters. This project will be the centerpiece of a greatly enhanced Civil War offering when we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin in 2012.”

This is part one in a series on the Carter Cotton Gin Interpretive Park. Check back for more posts soon. Future posts will include more pictures and video of the news conference held today.

Previous posts regarding Franklin battlefield preservation efforts:

Keywords for this blogpost:

Franklin, Tennessee | The Battle of Franklin | Carter Cotton Gin | Historical preservation | Civil War Trust | Franklin’s Charge

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