Kraig McNutt is the publisher of The Battle of Franklin blog (est. 2006) and the complimentary Facebook group (est. 2009), with over 5,000 active followers. The blog receives 100-300 visitors a day, or roughly 5,000 unique visitors a month. More than 2/3rds of the blog and Facebook followers do not even live in Tennessee, which attests to the universal appeal and draw to the Franklin story. McNutt is directly descended from a Battle of Franklin soldier, Henry Clay Wright, 21st Kentucky Infantry (U.S.).
Kraig also maintains several other Franklin related digital or social media properties, including the Battle of Franklin Descendant’s web site, the Franklin Civil War Guide (Google map), as well as resources focusing on McGavock Confederate Cemetery, the Faces of Franklin (Pinterest), as well as posting a myriad of videos online. All of these channels are racially undergirded by tens of thousands of digital pictures and videos he has taken in the past twenty years.
McNutt is not a professional historian since he doesn’t earn his living in the field but he is a serious student of the American Civil War evidenced by his thousands of hours of research and self-publishing resources he archives on ScribD, his personal Civil War library of over 10,000 volumes, the artifacts he collects including hundreds of Civil War letters, documents, images, newspapers, etc. He minored in American history at Indiana University and completed over 30 graduate history hours as he completed two Master’s degrees.
Kraig has spoken at a myriad of Civil War related events, conferences, and round tables throughout the country. His range of topics extend beyond Franklin, including covering the true-life stories of people like slave Robert Smalls, POW Morris Cooper Foote, Irish songster Barney Williams, Medal of Honor winner William G. Whitney (11th MI), and the stories of everyday soldiers like William F. Gibson (8th Arkansas Infantry), and Henry B. Dillard (33rd Alabama Infantry).
He also has an abundance of talks, lectures, and presentations on the western theatre, like the military hospital hospital system of Nashville (1861-1865), Tennessee Medal of Honor Winners, Confederate soldiers buried in Rest Haven, Franklin’s unknown Civil War soldier (buried in Rest Haven), logistics and the Civil War, Hillsdale’s Heroes, Fort Granger, as well as presentations on places like Louisville, Nashville, the war in southern Kentucky, Beaufort (SC), and Charleston.
One of his favorite activities is to visit the important places where the Civil War played out, walk the actual battlefields, and to get to know the human back-stories, to Franklin and other Civil War battles. He feels it is just as important, if not more, to understand the human story behind the battles, to absorb the cultural milieu, and to recognize the non-military factors that became the undergirding drivers behind every important Civil War battle of event. He is often seen walking through cemeteries looking for the men who served in the Civil War, men whom time has forgotten.
A teacher at heart, McNutt has taught on the undergraduate level for many years. The classroom has led him to the battlefield where he enjoys hosting battlefield and historic tours in middle Tennessee and even in places like Beaufort/Charleston and Gettysburg. His tours are often led from a Pedego electric bike or just simply on foot. His extensive research and personal collection of artifacts are shared with his tour guests through the means of the iPad and the mobile technology.
McNutt is active in many Civil War public history projects and preservation efforts in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina, and Michigan.
Recommendations on behalf of Kraig McNutt
Long forgotten and seldom understood, the breathtaking events which swirled around Franklin, Tennessee in late 1864 are regaining their appropriate place in history. Many claim to be interested in telling and preserving this vital American story, but few do it with the passion of Kraig McNutt. His knowledge and integrity may only be exceeded by his energy, all of which make a respected member of the Civil War community in Middle Tennessee. My earnest hope is that his contributions last for many years to come.
Eric Jacobson, Executive Director, Battle of Franklin Trust
Kraig McNutt, a lifelong student of the Civil War, has become one of the pre-eminent Civil War bloggers on the web. His various offerings, many focused on the Civil War in Tennessee, are filled with great stories, historical insights, and modern-day Civil War developments. In a world of ever expanding content offerings, Kraig’s blogs remain as a must read for anyone interested in the American Civil War.
Rob Shenk,EVP of Visitor Engagement, George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate
Kraig McNutt is a dedicated student of the American Civil War who shares his knowledge of the Civil War and his passion for keeping alive the memory of those who served in this horrific conflict through his interesting websites as well as in his engaging presentations. He is also an active historic preservationist who lends his expertise to a number of Battle of Franklin preservation groups. This area is fortunate to have Kraig McNutt as a member of its community of Civil War scholars.
Sam C. Gant, Ph.D. | Prof. of History, emeritus | Nashville State Community College
Kraig McNutt brings with him not only years of study and understanding, but the necessary passion to make the cold facts of history come alive. Driven by that passion, Kraig has honed his studies into scholarship and his scholarship into understanding. As the Civil War slips further and further into a dim past, we are fortunate to have Kraig breathing life back into the story.
Robert Hicks, preservationist and best-selling author of The Widow of the South
Kraig McNutt is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and passionate student of the Civil War. He has for a number of years maintained one of the finest websites on the conflict and possesses, along with a wealth of knowledge, a deep inner appreciation of what the war meant for those who lived through it and for us their descendants. I highly recommend him to groups seeking a top-flight Civil War speaker.
Professor Steven E. Woodworth, TCU, author and historian
Kraig McNutt is an omnivorous reader, thinker, writer, researcher, advocate, and speaker–not only on the American Civil War, but on a host of other historical and cultural issues. His educational and professional background would indicate that he is qualified to speak on many of these issues–but, we all know folks who are qualified yet they bore us to tears. Not Kraig. His lively and engaging style makes history come alive.
Dr. George Grant, author and pastor, Parish Presbyterian Church, Franklin, TN
Kraig McNutt presented a wonderful program on Robert Smalls who began life as a slave who later rose to be a member of the United States Congress. In between, Smalls, an accomplished boat pilot around Charleston, SC, escaped, becoming the first black Captain of the US Navy warship. He later bought the home of his former master and lived out his days there. This amazing story was presented with full command of the topic and in the very folksy style of McNutt who brought a display of items related to the story. This was an interesting and informative program and would be a very good event for any CWRT.
The Nashville Civil War Round Table