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WSMV-4 covered the story in tonight’s evening news.

Civil War Soldier Gets Proper Burial

(10/8/09) – A Civil War soldier who died in battle and whose remains were uncovered this year is finally getting a proper military burial.

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The remains of an unknown Civil War soldier found earlier this year in Franklin will lie in state at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church until the burial on Saturday.

Visitation periods are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Two Civil War reenactors, one Confederate and one Union, are standing guard at the coffin.

The church was used for barracks and a hospital during the Civil War. The re-enactor soldiers stand guard 24-hours a day.

Bones and pieces of the soldier’s uniform were found in May during construction at the corner of Columbia Pike and Southeast Parkway.The soldier will be reburied at Rest Haven Cemetery in downtown Franklin at 10 a.m. Saturday.”

To find the remains of a Civil War soldier pretty much intact is highly remarkable. This is really a once in a lifetime opportunity. Anybody who has any interest in the Civil War really should come out and take the opportunity to pay their final respects to this American soldier,” said Rene Evans of Franklin on Foot walking tours.

The monument to mark his grave will be made from sections of the original limestone columns that were part of the state capitol.

The capitol’s columns were built in 1856 but have been in storage since the structure underwent a major renovation in the 1950s.

“It’s just a remarkable piece of Civil War history, and it really makes history come to life here 145 years later,” said Evans.

An estimated 2,000 soldiers were killed in the Battle of Franklin, which took place in November 1864.

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A local high school group of students came to St. Paul's to learn more about the unknown soldier and the Civil War.

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The local news media covered the story. Robin Hood talks to reporters.

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The unknown soldier was constantly flanked today by reenactors and docents.

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The day started with an early morning meeting of the Battlefield Task Force.

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Everything started with the coffin being carried into the sanctuary by reenactors.

I was on hand to take a few pics of the unknown Civil War soldier’s coffin being delivered to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church this morning around 8:00 am.  A couple of re-enactors were on hand to carry it into the church. The soldier’s casket will lie in repose in the sanctuary of St. Paul’s until burial Saturday morning at 10:00 am. The general public can visit the church and view the coffin from 8 – 8 Thursday and Friday.

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As the Franklin community gathers to re-bury an unknown Civil War soldier this Saturday (Oct 10th) the event is reminiscent of days gone by of old when the veterans of the blue and gray gathered at the McGavock farm to commemorate the men who fought in the battle of Franklin.

A magnanimous spirit in the late 19th and early 20th century was displayed generously in some of the earliest renunions.

The Grand Reunion in Franklin of 1887, as chronicled by the Nashville Daily American, made the following report about some comments that Col. N.N. Cox of the 10th Tennessee Cavalry:

We are here as citizens of the great commonwealth – we hope in the proper spirit of patriotism as well as friendship. In casting our eyes to the future we trust that all prejudice from either side is buried forever.
[Williamson County: Civil War Veterans - Their Reunions and Photographs, Warwick: p. 23]

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Franklin (1914) was covered by the Maury Democrat newspaper.

This was very cordial and pleasant meeting of old time foes – all animosity gone; and all proud of the record of America manhood and glad to know that the wounds of a cruel war are healed and all are brothers again.
[Williamson County: Civil War Veterans - Their Reunions and Photographs, Warwick: p. 62]

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1914 Confederate Reunion in Franklin, TN

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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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