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The Candlelight Tour illuminates the rich heritage of Franklin by opening homes in historic downtown for two evenings.

Sites are decorated for the Christmas holiday, combining the beauty of some of Franklin’s most beautiful homes with the warmth of the season. Guests are greeted with visions and stories of the past as they progress through the tour.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here!




Gray marker


Carter house

Tod Carter March 24, 1840 – December 2, 1864

Tod Carter was returning home to his native Tennessee and native Williamson County with the Army of Tennessee in the fall of 1864, with his fellow soldiers in the 20th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.).

He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Franklin (30 November 1864) on the very land his father owned. He was carried from the field and died on December 2, 1864 in his own home.

Image credit above: The Williamson County Historical Society

Tod Carter’s grave site at Resthaven Cemetery in Franklin.

The annual Battle of Franklin illumination event returns to the setting of the Carter House grounds just south of downtown Franklin on Friday, November 30th.  Volunteers are needed to help with the commemoration.

Illumination display at the Carter House (2008).

The following info is based on what was reported in The Tennessean.

Preliminary setup: 10 a.m. Nov. 29

Volunteers are needed to help paint a grid on the ground outlining where the luminarias will be placed. Volunteers will use chalk to place small dots on the field adjacent to the Carter House. The dots create a pattern for laying out the luminarias in a more aesthetically pleasing ceremony. This process should take around 2 hours.

Luminary setup: Nov. 30, 1 p.m. start, candlelighting starts at 3 p.m.

This stage involves creating the luminarias — the small paper bags that hold the candles used to mark the ceremony. Some volunteers will work at tables placing wooden candle-holders into the luminary bags. Other volunteers are needed to take the bags onto the grid and place the bags on the dots. The candles will be lighted from 3 to 3:30 p.m. The ceremony starts at 4:45 p.m.

Luminary cleanup: 5:45 p.m. Nov. 30

After the ceremony concludes around 5:30 p.m., volunteers are needed to extinguish the candles and then pick up and disassemble the luminarias. The candles and blocks will be saved and stored for reuse. Depending on the number of cleanup volunteers, this process may take between 60 and 90 minutes.

To volunteer, please contact city Preservation Planner Amanda Hall at 615-550-6737

If you’ve driven by the Carter House on Columbia Pike lately you will notice the new fence.  The image below is a post-War picture of a Carter fence. This one is NOT original to the 1864 look.


The new (2012) Carter House fence is similar to the look and style of the one the Carter’s had in 1864.

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Kraig McNutt is the author and publisher of this blog. He has been blogging on Franklin for over five years and on the Civil War in general since 1995. Email him.

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Summary of the Battle of Franklin

The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864 in Franklin, Tennessee; in Williamson County. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee (around 33,000 men) faced off with John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio and the Cumberland (around 30,000 men). Often cited as "the bloodiest five hours" during the American Civil War, the Confederates lost between 6,500 - 7,500 men, with 1,750 dead. The Federals lost around 2,000 - 2,500 men, with just 250 or less killed. Hood lost 30,000 men in just six months (from July 1864 until December 15). The Battle of Franklin was fought mostly at night. Several Confederate Generals were killed, including Patrick Cleburne, and the Rebels also lost 50% of their field commanders. Hood would limp into Nashville two weeks later before suffering his final defeat before retreating to Pulaski in mid December. Hundreds of wounded Confederate soldiers were taken to the John and Carrie McGavock home - Carnton - after the battle. She became known as the Widow of the South. The McGavock's eventually donated two acres to inter the Confederate dead. Almost 1,500 Rebel soldiers are buried in McGavock Confederate Cemetery, just in view of the Carnton house.

Make sure to check-out the Google Map of the Franklin Civil War Guide.

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