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Gray marker

 

Carter house

One of my highlights every year is to attend the annual McGavock Confederate Cemetery Memorial Service, hosted by the United Daughter’s of the Confederacy, Franklin Chapter #14,  at Carnton.  Boy Scout Troop #137 will install a Confederate flag next to each of the 1,500 markers in the cemetery. The Boy Scouts have been doing this for 30+ years according to John Green, Commander.

The event kicks off at 2pm, rain or shine. There is always a guest speaker, Confederate re-enactors, and a babgpipe presentation.

Here is a link to last year’s service with a photo gallery.

I’ve blogged many times about the McGavock Confederate Cemtery. I’ve taken thousands of pictures over the years too.  I wish I could have walked the rows of McGavock in 1866 to see what the cemetery looked like. No doubt, there were many wooden markers – like the Nix marker from Stone’s River – with the names of the soldiers scribbled for posterity.

Today, about half of the Confederates buried at McGavock are forever unknown to the ages. Certainly not forgotten, but sadly unknown. There were 225 soldiers placed in an Unknown section. Not even their ‘State identity’ is even known.

Another 333 unknowns are spread out in respective State sections throughout the cemetery, their State identity known, but not their names. So, of the total of 1,481 Confederate soldiers buried here, 780 are identified positively. Another 143 graves have some sort of identification, genuine or otherwise.

Loring’s Division (Lt. Gen. A.P. Stewart’s Corps) lost (killed) 334 men at Franklin. Gen Scott lost 126. Featherston lost 68, and Adams lost 43.

Featherston’s Brigade consisted of:

  • 1st Battalion, Mississippi Sharpshooters ( 0 killed )
  • 1st MS Infantry ( 6 killed)
  • 3rd MS ( 14 killed )
  • 22nd MS ( 8 killed )
  • 31st MS ( 21 killed)
  • 33rd MS ( 10 killed )
  • 40th MS ( 9 killed )
Loring’s Division marched across what is now known as the Eastern Flank part of the Franklin battlefield, traversing the McGavock farm.  What these men hardly knew was that they literally walked across ground upon which so many of them would be buried following the battle.

 
The 33rd Mississippi Infantry, Company K, lost at least six known, and perhaps several more buried in now unknown plots.

Here are pictures of the markers of identified 33rd MS, Company K men buried at McGavock.

Regarding Shaw, Jacobson writes: ” About ‘fifteen paces from the works’ Lt. Henry Clay Shaw saw the color bearer of the 33rd Mississippi fall with the flag. Shaw picked it up and scrambled to the parapet. As he tried to shove the staff into the dirt Shaw was killed, ‘his body falling in the trench, the colors falling in the works.”

See: Jacobson (For Cause: p. 322.  Also:  OR 45, pt. 1, p. 322, 331, 338, 430.

As you can see from the map below, Featherston’s men faced the Hoosier boys from Stiles’s Brigade on the far left Union flank.

Historian Eric Jacobson talks about Loring’s advance at the Battle of Franklin.


Jim Drury, Pipe Major, TN Scots Pipe Band plays Amazing Grace at the 2011 McGavock Confederate Cemetery Memorial service.

It was a very hot and windy day.  The 46th TN reenacctors fired the salute.

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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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