Franklin Civil War Tours
There are many ways to enjoy Civil War Franklin and the related battlefield sites. A popular way is to spend one full-day and just hit the more popular sites, i.e., the three historic homes. This is an ideal tour if you like the docent-experience and you want more of a template-approach to a tour. Here is a Franklin – 1 Day – Value Ticket (PDF) of how to do Civil War Franklin in one day.
If you have the time, perhaps you’re in town for the weekend or a few days, and you’re interested in a more personalized or custom approach – and you want to get your Civil War geek on – then you will want to engage me (Kraig McNutt) as your Civil War guide, to custom-design and deliver a very personal and off-the-beaten-path approach to Civil War Franklin.
Franklin has enjoyed a huge wave of battlefield preservation in the past twenty years. Even the changes in the past couple years will shock you if it’s been a while since you were here last. Here are some key preservation highlights in the past few years that continues to transform the urban sprawl into preserved battlefield sites we can now walk on and interpret more realistically:
- The old gymnasium [see pic] immediately north of the Carter house is gone. Now you will a find pristine open field, a little over two acres, and the ability to imagine what it was like for Opdycke’s brigade to be in the reserve position and racing up the hill and south toward the Carter house to stem the tide of the Confederate’s who broke through the line.
- The Lovell property [see pic], the two structures immediately south (including the floral shop) of the Carter out-buildings are gone. That whole area, a little over an acre, is some of the most hallowed ground that could’ve ever been recovered. Now, we can walk upon that ground and offer a much more authentic interpretation of what happened when the Confederate brigades of Gordon and Strahl slammed into the first Federal line, smashing into the 50th Ohio as they pushed the Bluecoats back and into the lap of the 44th Missouri just a short distance behind them.
- The Domino’s strip mall is gone [see pic]! This 2.5 acre plot now is rid of the deplorable strip mall that had defiled this hallowed ground for decades. You can now walk uppn the very ground where the 100th Ohio, the 6th Ohio battery, and the 104th Ohio defended the Federal line just east of the pike as they faced the onslaught from Cockrell, Granbury, and Govan’s Confederate brigades. The foundation of the original Carter cotton gin has been uncovered and can be viewed as can the original Federal line which is outlined by a modern gravel-trench line.
- Have you seen the four acres that have been preserved called Loring’s Advance [see photo gallery]? Loring’s division came across this ground on their way to assaulting the far left Federal flank. Many boys from Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas traced their final steps upon this ground.
- And almost forgotten, but very vital to the Franklin story, is Fort Granger [see link and pics]. Though it has been preserved for decades now, many have not been able to appreciate its contribution to the Franklin story until recently with the uncovering – with confidence – of knowing which Federal troops constructed Fort Granger from March thru May in 1863.
I have been leading tours of historic Franklin and the related Civil War sites for over 15 years. I combine several elements to design the perfect tour:
- Knowledge of the local history, both military and social
- Passion for the Civil War and mid 19th century history
- Integrating objects into my tours, e.g., artifacts, letters, images, etc.
- Preparing you for your tour with exciting and helpful digital resources, e.g., web sites, maps, videos, photos, and appropriate research
My personal, custom tours are booked in half-day (four hours), or full-day modules (eight hours). I spend time with you via email or on the phone discussing your interests, needs, and background to help design the perfect tour for you and your guests. These tours can range from $175 on up, depending on what you want and how many are in your group. Discounts are available (ask how to get $200 off).
Here are the modules (four-hour experiences) I offer. You can choose one or up to all four.
Module #1 – The Confederate Assault from Winstead to Carter Hill. We start at Winstead Hill and make our way north toward the Carter House, stopping on the way at the Federal forward line where Lane and Conrad saddled the pike. From there we make our way a little north to the Cotton gin site and then walk over to the Carter grounds.
Module #2 – The Downtown area including field hospitals, headquarters and residences. There are several downtown area sites that are worth considering placing on one module (four hours). They include extant field hospitals (residences churches, buildings), the Harpeth River, the burnt out Harpeth River wagon bridge, the Lotz House (outside only), Schofield’s headquarters, the courthouse, the Rebel Sentinel monument, the Nashville-Decatur Railroad, etc. This is a great module to do by electric bike (extra fee).
Module #3 – Eastern Flank, Carnton grounds, and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. We will spend all our time on the so-called Eastern flank (i.e., the Federal left flank, the CSA right flank). There is ample preserved battlefield to walk (or bike) along paved paths. The key here is to understand Loring’s CSA advance upon this ground as the battle unfolded from 4-5 pm. We can also stroll the original Carnton grounds which served as a field hospital.
Module #4 – Off-the-Beaten-Path: Fort Granger, Rest Haven, Harlinsdale, the Harpeth River, the Railroad Depot, etc. Most veterans of the Franklin battlefield have not even taken the time to examine some of the key stops in this module. We hit numerous sites in this module that help transform the Franklin Civil War experience from a flat 2-D perspective, to 3-D in high-def!
Single modules (of four hour lengths) can be booked in the evenings, including weekdays, from 4-8 pm. I can cover two modules (eight hours) on weekends (Sat or Sun). Most people secure their tour time-slot way in advance (a year in some cases) by making a deposit. If you’re interested in a custom Franklin battlefield tour second-to-none, then “Franklin Civil War Tours” is just for you!
I also host corporate Franklin battlefield tours – similar to the Staff Leadership Rides hosted by the Army War College – in which I focus on strategic leadership decisions, bridging the gap between the general officers of the Civil War with decisions corporate leaders have to make today. Bring 5-20 of your leaders or senior managers to greater Nashville and let’s walk the Franklin battlefield together. We will learn about strategic leadership during the Civil War and apply lessons from 150 years ago to today’s corporate world.
My corporate training is sourced and/or inspired by programs like Dale Carnegie, Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, and the U.S. Army war College’s Staff leadership Rides, and other top-flight leadership programs.
To learn more about my tours or to RSVP, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kraig W. McNutt
Franklin Civil War Tours
Custom-design your Franklin Civil War Tour here (Survey Monkey)
Here’s some feedback from recent happy customers.
“From the time we met Kraig on Winstead Hill for an overview of the battle, to our stop at the Federal works near the Carter House, to Carnton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, to our stop at Fort Granger, the day was unbelievable! Having Kraig there with us was worth far, far more then it cost us. He was able to tell us things that I had never known and he was able to pinpoint spots that I had read of, but never dreamed I could see. He is as nice as he is knowledgeable, and that is saying a lot. His enthusiasm for what he does is contagious. If you are considering a trip to Franklin, please do yourself a favor and book a tour with Kraig. At the end of your day there, you will be very happy you did.”
Trey Currington from Dallas, Texas
“When most people talk about checking off bucket list items you hear things like visiting the Grand Canyon, Empire State building or even Skydiving for me it was much more personal. I spent an afternoon with Kraig McNutt on the battlefield at Franklin TN, where just a little over one hundred and fifty two years ago my great great grandfather struggled to survive one of the most intense engagements of the American Civil War. I walked the very field where my ancestor helped lead twelve different charges to break the federal lines only then to become captured once his men broke through. Standing on that field was very emotional for me and Kraig’s knowledge of the battle and detail he provides is amazing. I would recommend a tour with Kraig to anyone, with or without a personal connection to Franklin, with his knowledge you can step back in time to that terrible afternoon of November 30th 1864.”
1st Lt. Daniel W. Melton | Co. B. 7th Arkansas Infantry
I had a great day with Kraig, starting at Winstead Hill. The understanding of the topography and being able to trace the ground and fields the troops had to traverse added a layer of detail that had been missing to my understanding. Kraig knew my ancestor was in Lowrey’s brigade, so we were able to walk the approach to the cotton gin. We covered where Cleburne most probably fell, which is most probably a Civil War Mecca for me. We rode through town and visit several interesting stops that had great “story” value and traveled to Fort Granger. We were also able to visit spots throughout the tour that are not on any map or marked such as the bridges that were burned and repaired. When we arrived at Fort Granger, Kraig was able to provide details of the construction of the
fort as well a placements of redans and their significance. The appropriate end of the tour was at McGavock Cemetery where I was able to pay tribute to the men with marked graves that served in the same company as my ancestor. The details Kraig provides, and the time he takes to tailor a tour to your interests, is time well spent. I had previously visited Franklin and missed key details on generic visits. Kraig’s tour was a gift. It has energized me to become involved in restoration of the battle of Franklin.
Jim Garner | GG Grandson of John W. Powell | Co. D, 33rd Alabama | Lowrey’s Brigade | Cleburne’s Division