Franklin Trip

March 2009

Day 1: Travelled to Henry Horton State Park

The food we had at the Henry Horton State Park restaurant was excellent.

In the evening, some of us would hang out in the hospitality room.

Day 2:  Stones River

Jim Schroeder was our guide at Stones River.

Phillip Sheridan.  The area where General Phillip Sheridan and his division fought is behind him.

The Chicago Board of Trade Battery

These guns are meant to show the difficulty of moving artillery through this rocky area.

Hazen's Monument was one of the earliest Civil War monuments, built in 1863 when the war was still underway.  It is often photographed with the industrial facility behind it to show the threat that development poses to our history.

In appreciation of him leading us on the tour, Jim is presented with a plaque.  Clive Rice, trip organizer, is at left, and President John Graham is at right.

Next, we visited the Sam Davis House.  Sam was a Confederate soldier captured and put on trial as a spy.   Sam refused the offer of clemency if he revealed the other men in his unit, so he was hanged.  His homeplace is now a museum.  

Our waitress, Carol, is interested in the Civil War, so Clive bought her a book and had author Eric Jacobson sign it.

Day 3: Spring Hill Campaign


Lynnville Station Incident

While conducting the tour, Eric stated that the rail line through Lynnville is still used today.  Eddie Wheeler declared that a train hadn't run on the tracks in 100 years, after which a resident informed us that three regularly scheduled trains pass through town each day.  Eric said that he would have his wife photograph him as a train passed through Lynnville, then send the picture to Eddie through certified mail.

Revisionists give a different slant to the story.  A number of Round Table members noted the poorly joined rails, with as much as 1/4 inch vertical difference between them.  The crossties were in poor condition, and dirt had washed up against the rails.  There was no rut in the dirt from the flange of a wheel.  Roanokers are knowledgeable about railroads, so in light of these facts, many in our group concluded the same thing - that the tracks were abandoned.  Only Eddie was vocal in his opinion, and since Eddie is a dry cleaning tycoon who wears a bow tie and is the frequent butt of jokes, Eddie became the fall guy.

Perhaps Eddie is not alone.  Is John Bell Hood unfairly maligned?  Could the conventional wisdom about his generalship be flawed?  You'll have to read Eric's book to find out.  

We had just enough time to investigate the town's old steam locomotive.


St John's - Cleburne and others were buried here after the battle at Franklin.  Cleburne, and some others, were moved elsewhere, but others remain, like Col. Young.


Outside Hood's headquarters, Eric discusses Hood's fitful sleep the night the Union army slipped by.  Eric believes that Hood and Cheatham were both to blame for the lost opportunity.

Day 4: Franklin

Carter House:
The Carter House was at the center of the fighting.  Bodies were piled several men deep in places.  Thousands of men fell within a mile of the house.

Some people like cats.  Some people don't.

Cheatham, named after the Confederate general, guards the bullet riddled farm office building.  Fortunately, no one in our group asked how the window survived the battle. 

Cheatham keeps a close watch on the neighbor's cat while author/guide Eric Jacobson takes a well deserved break.  Will these kitty cats re-enact the battle?

No.  Cheatham becomes tired and decides that it is nap time.  So there will be no feline re-enactment of the battle - this time.  Word on the street, however, is that these two cats have accidently been locked up for the night in the Carter House.  The next morning, the fur on the floor indicated that there had been a heated struggle.

The Carter family had a son serving as an officer in the charging Confederate army.  He was wounded and brought to his homeplace and to his family.  He died within a few days.  The Carter House was used as a hospital after the battle.  Scientific analysis revealed that in one room, the amount of blood spilled was the equivalent of three inches deep on the floor.  Blood was even found on the 14 foot tall ceiling.


After the battle, four dead Confederate generals were laid side by side on the porch of the McGavock house, Carnton.  The house was used as a hospital, and blood stains can still be seen on the interior floor.

Eric talked to us about the house before giving us a tour of the inside.

Confederate Cemetery at Carnton:

Between 1,700 and 2,000 Confederates were killed in the five hour battle of Franklin.  The McGavock family buried 1,500 near their home, which served as a hospital.  This section of the cemetery is for the family.

A wounded Texan at Carnton was visited by a friend during the retreat from Nashville.  The friend knew that his wounded buddy was being abandoned to the Yankees.  The wounded man eventually died, and the McGavocks, knowing the story, buried the man in plot #1, at the lowest marker visible in the photo.


The graves are arranged like a regiment in column, with a two company front.


Clay Gregory and Tom Moser investigate the cemetery.  Clay joined us from California.

Fort Granger, overlooking the Harpeth River, fired on the attacking Confederates during the battle.

Clive presents a plaque at Eric.  Eric was an excellent speaker and tour guide, and his book set the standard for scholarship on the battle.

That evening, Robert Hicks, author of 'Widow of the South', spoke to us.  Robert's best selling book helped bring the battle to the public's attention.  Robert told us his story of meeting Shelby Foote at a stoplight.  Mr Foote was not accustomed to being accosted in his automobile, and he was not accustomed to inscribing books for strangers, even after consuming alcohol with them for seven hours.

Day 5:

Day five was the trip home.  Our driver, JB, has done several trips with us, making him our wagonmaster.

All photos copyright 2009 by John Hamill

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