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This Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 CST Battle of Franklin preservationists and enthusiasts will gather at the site of the Carter cotton gin site behind the Domino’s to celebrate the official purchase of the Domino’s and strip mall property where the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin was fought.

I’ve blogged on this many times.

Speakers at the ceremony include Civil War Trust President James Lighthizer, Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer, Caroll Van West co-chairman of the Tennessee Sesquicentennial Commission, Franklin’s Charge member Julian Bibb and Battle of Franklin Trust Historian Eric Jacobson.

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This Google map below shows the strip mall area in relation to the original troop placements.

This Google map is accessible at www.FranklinBattlefield.com

This Google map is accessible at http://www.FranklinBattlefield.com

Fannie Courtney-A View from the Other Side (1865)

The following was written by nineteen-year old Fannie in March 1865, four months after the Battle of Franklin, at the request of E. Root, Esq., U.S. Sanitary Commission in Nashville. It was part of “The Sanitary Reporter,” U.S. Sanitary Commission, April 15, 1865, p. 181-182.

It has appeared in numerous newspaper over the years, including the Boston Gazette and the Cincinnati Enquirer, among others.

Fannie Courtney was a strong Union sympathizer despite having a brother and cousin riding in Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s regiment. Shortly after the war, she married Lt. Col. George Grummond, U.S. Army, and went with him to Fort Phil Kearny, where he was killed by Indians. Later, she married Colonel Henry B. Carrington and enjoyed the benefits of being the wife of a senior officer.

To: E. Root., U.S. Sanitary Commission, Nashville From Frances Courtney

Fannie Courtney, courtesy of the Williamson County Historical Society

Dear Sir:

I hasten to give you an account of the Battle of Franklin, together with a statement of the facts concerning the hospitals and the wounded during the stay of the Rebels, a period of seventeen days, after the Battle. The details of the memorable engagement of November 30th will, of course, be according to my opportunity for personal observation, while terror stirred my soul. The other facts transpired in calmer moments, when my heart was filled with a holy sense of duty toward the suffering.

On the morning of the 30th of November the retreating army arrived at this place, tired and many almost exhausted. But, notwithstanding this, they commenced immediately throwing up breastworks. You would have been astonished to see how quick the work was completed… We felt great uneasiness of mind, fearing that there would be a great battle….

But we were doomed to disappointment; about half past three o’clock I was sitting at the dinner table, when I heard the roar of artillery. I ran into the yard to listen. There was a yell, the Rebels made a charge along the whole line. The bullets were falling so thick it was unsafe to remain longer. I stood within the door, and in a few minutes all was in perfect confusion. Men, women, and children were running in every direction, together with unmanageable teams, loose horses and mules. My position was no longer safe. I hastened to the cellar with the rest of my family and neighbors who sought protection with us…

About 10 o’clock suddenly the firing ceased for a few minutes. I heard persons in the sitting room above. It proved to be some Federal officers off duty for a time, who stopped to let us know how the Battle was going…I heard an awful groan, and within a few yards of me lay a Federal soldier who, (I supposed, had been wounded a short time before the firing ceased.) I sent one of the soldiers out to look after his comrade and to give him water. But he did not have to remain long; the wound proved to be mortal, and the poor man soon expired.

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Lt. Col. George Grummond, Courtesy the WCHS

Another desperate charge! Such yells! I can never forget wounded Federal soldiers came in from the battlefield, and stopped in the yard, for they could go no farther. I called to the men outside to bring them into the cellar. Two were slightly wounded. The third was struck in the arm, and the main artery was cut. He was bleeding profusely. One of the neighbors ran up at the risk of his life and brought a bucket of water. My mother had some cotton near, I poured water on the wound for some time. I then put cotton on each side where the ball entered and came out, bound it up with my handkerchief, and with two others belonging to my sister and little brother, made for him a sling. He lay down to rest, but complained of being cold from loss of blood. I had nothing to cover him with. What was I to do? A thought struck me. I took off my woolen skirt and tucked it around him. His comrades decided to try to overtake an ambulance with him, and I suppose they did, as they did not return.

Soon a fire broke out in town… we thought of nothing else but being burned alive in the cellar, as there was no way of getting out if the fire continued to spread. The Rebels could see the

position of our forces, and consequently the fighting was more terrible. Several buildings were consumed, but thanks to a kind Providence, the fire was extinguished by the timely interference of soldiers, assisted by citizens. About thirteen charges in all were made by the Rebels.

At midnight the Federal Army began to retreat, the wagon trains being safe, and gradually the firing ceased. Oh! How grateful to God we felt that it was over… Then we emerged from our place of refuge. I dragged beds into my mother’s room for us to rest there, as we wished to spend the remainder of the night of terror together. I could not sleep, for I longed to go to the battlefield to alleviate [lessen] suffering [and] do all in my power to make the wounded more comfortable until they could be brought to hospitals.

At 3 o’clock, again, such cannonading! What could it mean? It shook the earth, the house; everything seemed in motion above and below. It was a farewell salute sent by the rebels to the retreating army, now far away. I was so frightened I sprang up and aroused everyone to get to the cellar immediately or we should be killed. I remained close to the house, to do which, though it took me not more than two minutes, seemed an age. Just as I reached the cellar door a shell exploded close by, and had I been three seconds later in passing, I should have been struck by some of the fragments, which flew about. How grateful we felt to God that we were spared! But amidst our joy we thought of the dead ones who had fallen to find graves in a strange land, and of the suffering ones lying exposed on the field; of the desolate [joyless] homes, and the many hearts stricken with sorrow when the sad tidings should reach them…

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General Henry B. Carrington, courtesy of the WCHS

Early the next morning after the Battle I went to the field. The sight was dreadful. It seemed that I could scarcely move for fear of stepping on men either dead or wounded. Some were cold and stiff, others with the lifeblood ebbing out, unconscious of all around, while others were writhing in agony, calling, “Water! Water!” I can hear them now.

… I could not look upon such sights long, but hurried back to care for the wounded. There were forty-four hospitals in total— three for the Federal wounded and the rest for the Confederates. Red flags were waving from unoccupied dwelling, the seminaries, churches, and every business house in town.

My Mother and I took charge of a hundred and twenty wounded men, who occupied the Presbyterian Church, it being the largest Federal hospital, and with what we could spare assisted at another which was in a house owned by my mother and near our own home. When we first went to the hospital, the wounded men told us they had nothing to eat for two days. We first furnished them with bread, meat and tea, and coffee, every little luxury we could prepare, for several days. Then they drew scanty [very little] rations from the Rebels, flour the color of ashes and a little poor beef not suitable for well men, much less for wounded. All the cooking was done, and in truth, everything eatable furnished, at our house.

We fed the men twice a day. Sometimes at 10 o’clock at night we would carry them something prepared with our own hands. Many had been robbed not only of their blankets and overcoats but of their coats, and were lying on the floor upon handfuls of straw, with nothing else to protect or cover them. We furnished them all the bedding we could spare, and made cotton pillows for all. There were no bandages to be had, and I made what I could out of my own underclothing. We would get up at daylight and with the help of servants commence cooking their breakfast. We never had time to rest, only as we sat down to eat something hurriedly, for as soon as we had finished feeding our patients in the morning, we had to return home to prepare the next meal…

FBCarter

Image courtesy of Historic Foundation of Williamson County

F.B. Carter (1797-1871) was born in Halifax Co. VA. and came with the Francis and Sarah Carter family to Williamson County in 1806, settling in Waddell Hollow. F.B. came to Franklin as a young man to make shoes, boots. In1830, he had the Carter House built on Columbia pike south of Franklin, which became the center of the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864.

Carter house

According to Greg Wade, a board member of Franklin’s Charge:

The final documents have been filed!  The Civil War Trust is now the official owner of the “Dominos” strip center, former site of the Carter Cotton Gin.  The Trust has partnered with Franklin’s Charge to make this a reality.    While it will take time, the building will eventually be removed and the ground restored to its battlefield appearance.  Plans include the possible rebuilding of the cotton gin as well as possible additional acquisitions.  As you know some of the hardest fighting in American history took place on this hallowed ground.

It should be noted no retail jobs will be lost as the former owner plans to rebuild in another location.

The goal has been to finalize this purchase before the end of 2012.  Hard work along with generous donations has made this a reality.  Now along with the 110 acre Eastern Flank, the current former “Pizza Hut” park as well as some other pieces of critical battle ground including the Carter House, we can actually say we have a battlefield to walk upon, reflect and interpret.

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See previous blog posts on:

Turn of the century historical photos of Franklin battlefield discovered

Historical photos provide a better understanding of Franklin’s history

 (Franklin, Tenn.)— The Battle of Franklin Trust Chief Operating Officer Eric A. Jacobson announced today the findings of turn of the century photographs of the Franklin battlefield, which provide a never before seen look at the historic area.

In making the announcement, Jacobson said, “We are happy to announce that thirty previously unknown images of the Franklin battlefield, The Carter House, and the Confederate Cemetery have been discovered. Most were taken in June 1904, but several were taken in 1899. Photographer Albert Kern apparently made two trips to Franklin where he photographed the battlefield in 1899 and again in 1904.”

Jacobson added, “One image was taken at a point just outside where the Federal line of defense was located and the orientation is toward the southeast. A stone structure, known as the Cleburne cenotaph, is clearly visible and it is the clearest image of the monument that I have ever seen. This particular photo was taken in 1904, just two years before the cenotaph was torn down by a man who built a house on the property. There are also bricks and stones visible in the foreground, which appear to be remnants of the original Battle Ground Academy (BGA) that burned in 1902. BGA was then rebuilt west of Columbia Pike, and that building is visible in another photograph.  Another image includes the Bostick home, which was known as Everbright.  Several photos were taken from the crest of Privet Knob and offer sweeping and stunning looks at the battlefield.”

Several photos of the Carter House offer truly incredible views of the historic property, including a picket fence along Columbia Pike.  The pictures also shows the obvious changes that Moscow Carter made to the house in 1880, including moving the bullet riddled smokehouse to the west end of the house and attaching it as an extra bedroom.  A photo of the Confederate Cemetery shows it just prior to Carrie McGavock’s death and before the 1909 tornado which destroyed most of the beautiful trees that once graced the cemetery.

The photos were discovered in a house in Ohio many years ago and were subsequently stored away.  Only recently were they re-evaluated and high resolution scans made.  A few images have been posted on the Carter House Facebook page, and the Battle of Franklin Trust is planning to conduct a public forum which will allow interested parties to view the photos in early 2013.

The Battle of Franklin Trust is a 501 (c) 3 management corporation acting on behalf of Franklin’s battlefield sites to contribute to a greater understanding and enrich the visitor experience of the November 30, 1864 battle. It’s organized for the charitable and educational purposes of preserving, restoring, maintaining and interpreting the properties, artifacts and documents related to the battle so as to preserve an important part of the nation’s history.

Contact:

Susan Andrews

The Andrews Agency

susanandrews@andrewsagencypr.com

Eric Jacobson

Battle of Franklin Trust

eric@battleoffranklintrust.org

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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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