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The Franklin Civil War community was very honored in October 2009 when we reburied the unknown Civil War soldier. I blogged on it extensively. Our community was so fortunate to have three living sons/daughters attend that ceremony. The living Confederate son was James Brown, Sr. Mr. Brown died last week at age 99 near Knoxville. He endured a brief struggle with lung cancer. He would have been 100 on Valentine’s Day. The KnoxNews ran this story.

James Brown, Sr., at the Franklin unknown Civil War soldier reburial in Franklin; October 2009.

My wife and I were able to host Mr. Brown for dinner in 2009. He was a true Southern gentleman with all the charm of Clark Gable. It was a tremendous honor to meet him. When he first walked into my home he pulled four original Civil War bullets from his pocket and gave them to me.  He said he had recently been to Gettysburg where he purchased them. His father fought in the wheatfield at Gettysburg with the 8th GA Infantry.

We will miss Mr. Brown. Leave your comments and I’ll make sure his son receives them. A memorial service is scheduled at Tellico Community Church on February 14, 2012.

U P D A T E – new date for premiere announced

Followers of my blog and Battle of Franklin fans will be delighted to know that the documentary film produced and directed by Brian and Jodi-Jones Speciale titled Heading Back Home will debut on Friday night, October 14th at the historic Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin.

Tickets will go on sale at the Franklin Theatre box office Sept 16th at 10 a.m.

Copies of the film in DVD format will be available the night of the event and for pre-sale soon as well.

 

A nice size crowd of folks from the Franklin Tennessee community attended the 1pm ceremony for the formal unveiling of the marker for the Unknown Civil War soldier today in rest Haven Cemetery near downtown. It was perfect weather for a poignant occasion.

Franklin Unknown Civil War soldier marker dedication, April 12, 2011

Margie Thessin – Vice-Chair of the Battlefield Preservation Commission – opened the ceremony with some brief comments.

Professor and author Thomas Flagel shared some history of the Unknown Soldier. I have blogged extensively since 2009 on this story (see link).  Professor Flagel remarked how it was rather ironic and poignant that the Unknown Civil War Soldier’s marker was formally unveiled on the 150th anniversary of the opening to the American Civil War.

The money needed for the marker – $2,300.00 – was donated by over 70 people from all over the United States, and even one person from Ireland.

Robin Hood, also with the Battlefield Preservation Commission, was unable to attend but his remarks were recited by Margie Thessin (see below).

To see the photo gallery from the dedication ceremony click here.

Professor and author, Thomas Flagel

Comments for Ceremony Dedicating Sign for the Tomb of the Unknown Civil War Soldier, Rest Haven Cemetery, Franklin Tennessee | Robin Hood, April 12, 2011

When nationally heralded Philadelphia architect William Strickland located to Nashville in 1845 and began designing Tennessee’s State Capitol, little did he know that the Tennessee limestone he selected for its columns would succumb to the elements in less than a century.

In the 1950’s a major restoration of the Capitol replaced the crumbling columns, which were committed to a grassy hillside in the Cockrill Bend of the Cumberland River.

The State of Tennessee graciously donated a portion of this architectural reliquary to Franklin for marking the tomb of this unknown Civil War soldier, reentered here from the nearby battlefield.

In funerary symbolism, the broken shaft of a column represents a life ended short of full potential. However, what fuller meaning can be attributed to a life than its culmination in devoted service to one’s country.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…

The ancient marble and limestone we use to commemorate the dead is a constellation of living matter from a previous time.  It is the composite of grasses and leaves… sinew and bone… sand and shell… all from eons past.

It is then fitting that this aggregate stone memorialize not just one unknown soldier, but all the brave soldiers – Union and Confederate – that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country on Franklin’s calamitous field of battle.

I was walking through Rest Haven Cemetery in Franklin today, taking pictures of the markers of Civil War soldiers, when I came upon a beautiful new marker to the Unknown Civil War soldier. I blogged extensively about the October 2009 reburial. One of my greatest honors was to host true living Civil War sons, James Brown and Harold Becker in my home for dinner on the occasion. Here’s the photo gallery of my visit today.

On October 10, 2009, the city of Franklin reinterred a once-lost Civil War soldier whose remains were unearthed along the Columbia Pike in the Spring. I blogged on it extensively.  This unknown soldier was reburied at Resthaven Cemetery in downtown Franklin.  Columns that were originally part of the Nashville State Capital in the Civil War were placed at the site to mark the burial.

Now, almost one year later, the markers will be formally dedicated on November 30, 2010, the 146th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.

Franklin on Foot is spearheading a donation-drive to raise funds for the commemoration. To donate click here, or send a check to Margie Thessin, 400 Maplewood Drive, Franklin, TN 37064, payable to the Williamson County Historical Society.

 

 

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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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