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Franklin , Tennessee – April 5, 2010 – The Battle of Franklin Trust Board of Directors Chairman Marianne Schroer announced today a ceremony and dedication is set for Saturday, April 17th to formally open the recaptured tract of land that served as the garden for the Carter family and witnessed some of the most horrific fighting of the November 30, 1864, Battle of Franklin. The public is invited to attend this free event which will be held from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

In making the announcement, Schroer said, “In recent years, Franklin was once listed as one of the top ten most endangered battlefields of the Civil War by the Civil War Preservation Trust. Our city has worked hard to recapture as much of the battlefield as we can to preserve and interpret its history. Opening the Carter House Garden is a significant step in the Trust’s commitment to preserve this hallowed ground.” The Program:

Participants in the program will include Schroer, The Carter House Board of Directors member Gene McNeil, Battle of Franklin Historian Thomas Cartwright and Battle of Franklin Trust Operations Director and historian Eric Jacobson.

Guests will be invited to help seed the property in an effort to feed the land and to symbolically initiate the further growth of the Battle of Franklin Trust and its mission.

The Carter House History:

The Carter House, built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter, witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War on November 30, 1864. This Registered Historic Landmark has been open to the public since 1953 and serves as a memorial to the Carter Family, as well as the countless heroes of the Battle of Franklin.

During the five hours of fighting, the Carter Family took refuge in their basement. Twenty-three men, women and children (many under the age of twelve) were safely protected while the horrible cries of war rang out above them. The head of the family, Fountain Branch Carter, a 67-year old widower, had seen three of his sons fight for the Confederacy. One son, Theodrick (Tod), was serving as an aid for General T.B. Smith on the battlefield and saw his home for the first time in three-plus years. Crying out, “Follow me boys, I’m almost home,” Captain Tod Carter was mortally wounded and died two days later at the Carter House.

The Significance of The Carter House Garden:

The Carter House Garden consists of approximately a half acre and is located directly behind the historic Carter House. The garden was originally two acres.

Eric Jacobson said, “The significance of the western edge of the Carter garden cannot be overestimated. Around 4:30 p.m. on November 30, 1864, elements of Gen. John Brown’s Confederate Division ripped through the main Federal line of defense west of Columbia Pike. Among the units forced to withdraw was the 72 nd Illinois Infantry, which held the section of the line which cuts through the garden property. The Illinois troops fell back to a reserve line held by the 44 th Missouri Infantry. Only a firm stand by the Missourians prevented Brown’s troops from collapsing more of the Federal defensive position. The garden property was enveloped by a hail of relentless fire for hours and three separate charges made by Federal troops to retake the main line were unsuccessful. The Confederates held the outside of the main line until they started to withdraw around 9 p.m.”

From 1997 until 2008, Thomas Cartwright served as Executive Director of The Carter House and worked diligently to secure funding to reclaim the property. At one time, the property included a house, swimming pool, and a trailer.

The Federal line is marked by the sand line.

Through Cartwright’s efforts along with The Carter House Association and the Civil War Preservation Trust, approximately $235,000 in funding was raised to clear the land and preserve it as an open area in reverence to the soldiers who fought and died on the property.

Thomas Cartwright frequently appears on various documentaries for the History Channel, A&E, Travel Channel, CNN, Discovery, and Preservation Channel. For many years, he has lectured throughout most of the United States for Civil War Round Tables, corporations, preservation groups and heritage organizations. He currently conducts walking tours of the battlefield from the Lotz House located across the street from The Carter House.

The Public Is Invited:

The public is invited to the free event which will begin at 1:00 p.m. at The Carter House located at 1140 Columbia Avenue . Free parking is available in the gravel parking lot adjacent to the house.

Prior to the garden ceremony from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., author Ruth Hill McAllister will host a book signing from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. of C. “Aytch” First Tennessee Regiment, or a Side Show of the Big Show by Sam R. Watkins, edited by Ruth Hill Fulton McAllister ( Franklin , TN : Providence House Publishers, 2007).

“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. Learn more at http://www.battleoffranklintrust.org .”

We took Mr and Mrs Becker to the Carter house grounds before they left for Michigan this morning. Here are some highlights of our visit. We also took him to a spot at Lewisburg Pike, and to McGavock Cemetery.

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Harold Becker at Carter grounds.

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Mr Becker was very impressed with the bullet damage in the Carter smokehouse building walls.

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Mr Becker's father - Charles Conrad Becker - was a rifleman for the 128th Indiana.

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Mr Becker was just amazed with the Carter grounds.

We’ve only had one light snow so far but previous Winters have brought us some beautiful pictures of snow covering the grounds in and around The Carter House near downtown Franklin.

The Carter House

The Carter House, rear view

The Carter House, front view

The Carter House, front view

Artillery on Carter House grounds

Artillery on Carter House grounds

Slave cabin on Carter House grounds

Slave cabin on Carter House grounds

Historian David Fraley was a recent guest of Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Listen to the entire program.

The Carter House

Dr. James Dobson recently visited the Carter House, a museum located on the site where the Civil War Battle of Franklin took place in Franklin, Tenn. Here, Dr. Dobson (right) sits down to interview David Fraley, a historian and the curator of the Carter House. The two discussed the remarkable battle that occurred on the site.

A good size crowd of Williamson County residents showed up at the Carter House location near downtown Franklin tonight (11.30) to commemorate the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin.  There were 10,000 luminaries (white bags with a lighted candle) to symbolize the 10,000 casualties from the battle that took place 30 November 1864.

Historian and author Erik A. Jacobson spoke for about ten minutes.

Part One

Part two

The Civil War bands played the Star Spangled Banner

Here are some pictures of the event.

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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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