36th Illinois soldier is killed on Carter House lawn, story comes full-circle more than 150 years later

One of our Facebook members – Kendyl Wallis – recently shared this story with us:

“The Colonel of my G-G grandfathers regiment, Colonel Porter Olson, 36th Illinois, was killed on the Carter House lawn. A shutter was torn from the house to use as a litter to carry him to the rear. About 10 years ago I was at Carnton, and I met a descendant of Fountain Branch Carter. We had a pleasant visit, and I pulled out my wallet and offered to reimburse her family for the shutter. We had a good laugh about that!”Lieutenant-Colonel Porter C. Olson, 36th Illinois Infantry

 

The 36th Illinois was in Odycke’s Brigade and in reserve about 500 yards north of the Carter House. These Opdycke troops were called into action to stem the Confederate breech around the Carter House when some CSA units broke through the main and interior Federal lines during the battle.

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The Carter House | Franklin, Tennessee

 

 

Hand-written account from 33rd Alabama Infantry regimental history tells of carnage around cotton gin

John Witherspoon DuBose wrote the original regimental history for the 33rd Alabama Infantry. Here is an excerpt of his hand-written account of the post-battle scene of carnage around the Carter cotton gin. I have estimated that between 1,000 and 1,200 Confederate casualties occurred in this two acre area, with somewhere near 200 Confederate’s outright killed.

Just how intense was the action around the Carter cotton gin at Franklin?

Just how intense was the fighting around the cotton gin at the Battle of Franklin? The pictures below shows a general area of roughly two square acres, where the cotton gin was on 30 Nov. After studying the casualties and battlefield accounts, and many other records – over many years – I have concluded that there were at least 100 Confederate dead (possibly 150-200) in this small two acre section, and another 800-1,000 wounded, lying on the field, waiting for assistance. After the battle, the Confederate soldiers who were not injured began walking among areas of the battlefield like this, where the action was hottest. Comforting their wounded. Confirming the dead. Carrying the wounded to local ‘hospitals’ in the homes of residents and the local churches. With some 800-1,200 casualties (just wounded and killed) in this two-acre section a person attending to the wounded after the battle could attend to one comrade, then turn in any direction and walk 8-10 feet and attend to another. The another . . . and another. And don’t forget, right in front of the Federal line, in the trench, the dead were likely piled 4-6 high. Imagine 1,000 people today, lying down in this two acre section, symbolizing the casualties around the Carter cotton gin.

A Confederate soldier wounded at the Battle of Franklin falls in love with a local resident while being cared for in a field hospital

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-20-19-pmCapt William F. Gibson, a Confederate soldier from Arkansas, was wounded in the face and stomach at the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, fighting around the Carter Cotton Gin with Cleburne’s Division. Lying wounded and bleeding on the field, he was saved by a Union soldier, who recognized he was a Mason.

Gibson was carried to the doorstep of the Cummins’s House in Franklin where he was found by a young single woman named Laura Sowell who was visiting her uncle at the time. Miss Sowell was from Columbia and single at the time.

Laura nursed William these first few days and they eventually fell in love, writing letters to one another right after the Franklin conflict, and even 30 years later.

They never married. William was shamed by his disfigured wounds from Franklin and did not think he was good enough for Laura. She later married a prominent businessman in Columbia, Tennessee.

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Here are some pictures of the former Cummins’ home now located at 403 Cummins Street just a little south of downtown Franklin, very close to the Lots House.

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Confederate William F. Gibson, 8th Arkansas Infantry, was wounded in this vicinity where the original Carter cotton gin was positioned, and was found the next day by a Union soldier who noticed William wearing a Masonic pin. The Union soldier carried the wounded Gibson to the home of Dr. Cummins (pictured above) where he was cared for and tended by local Miss Laura Sowell, whom he fell in love with.