The Carter House
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member LSUMonica
N 35° 55.023 W 086° 52.399
16S E 511429 N 3974755
Built in 1830, the Carter House was the location of the 1864 Battle of Franklin. Serving as a federal command post before the battle and as a hospital after, the house and grounds are today preserved on 10 acres. In this evening battle lasting only five hours, more Confederate soldiers, including 13 generals, were lost than in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.
Waymark Code: WMA08
Location: Tennessee, United States
Date Posted: 04/06/2006
Published By:Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 47

The small town of Franklin, Tennessee had been a Federal (Union) military post since the fall of Nashville in early 1862. Late in the summer of 1864, Confederate President Jefferson Davis replaced commander Joseph E. Johnston with John Bell Hood. General Hood, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and known for his superb record with his "Texas Brigade," suffered from a withered arm and amputated leg. Hood begins to formulate his "Tennessee Campaign of 1864" with the main objective to drive Sherman away from Atlanta and Robert E. Lee's forces.

Under Hood's command, The Army of Tennessee moved up through Georgia, Alabama, crossed the Tennessee River, and then entered Tennessee. November 30, 1864 had been a beautiful Indian summer day. At dawn, the Confederacy marched north from Spring Hill, Tennessee in pursuit of fleeing Federal forces. General Hood was determined to destroy the Union Army before it reached Nashville.

The Battle of Franklin has been called "the bloodiest hours of the American Civil War."

Called "The Gettysburg of the West," Franklin was one of the few night battles in the Civil War. It was also one of the smallest battlefields of the war (only 2 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide). The main battle began around 4:00 pm and wound down around 9:00 pm.

The Federal Army had arrived in Franklin around 1:00 that morning. Brigadier General Jacob Dolson Cox led the operation and woke up the Carter family, commandeering their home as his headquarters. At that time, the Carter Farm consisted of 288 acres on the south edge of town bordering the Columbia Pike. Their cotton gin (pictured, left) was located 100 yards from the house where eventually the main line of Federal breastworks were constructed. The Federal line commander was Cox who supervised his army in a defensive position surrounding the southern edge of town. He used the existing breastworks built in 1863 and constructed others on the west side of Columbia Pike. About 60 feet from the Carter House, near their farm office and smokehouse, were the inner breastworks.

S.D. Lee's Corps arrived late with only 1 division participating in the battle.) By 2:00 pm Hood had made plans for a frontal assault. By 2:30 pm a conference was held at the Harrison House. Strong objections were voiced from Hood's commanders. General Cheatham said, "I don't like the looks of this fight, as the enemy has a good position and is well fortified." Generals Cleburne (pictured, right) and Forrest (cavalry) knew they would be flirting with disaster. But Hood would not be dissuaded. As Cleburne mounted his horse to leave, Hood gave strict orders for the assault. Cleburne responded, "We will take the works or fall in the attempt." The Army of Tennessee knew this assault on the town of Franklin would be suicidal. They bravely advanced toward the Carter House with their heads held high.

The fighting soon became brutal and fiendishly savage, with men bayoneted and clubbed to death in the Carter yard. A Confederate soldier was bayoneted on the front steps of the Carter House. Men were clubbing, clawing, punching, stabbing and choking each other. The smoke from the canons and guns was so thick that you could not tell friend from foe.

During the five hours of fighting, the Carter Family took refuge in their basement. 23 men, women and children (many under the age of 12) were safely protected while the horrible cries of war rang out above them. The head of the family, Fountain Branch Carter, a 67-year old widower, had seen 3 of his sons fight for the Confederacy. One son, Theodrick (Tod), was serving as an aid for General T.B. Smith on the battlefield and saw his home for the first time in 3 years. Crying out, "Follow me boys, I'm almost home," Captain Tod Carter was mortally wounded and died 2 days later at the Carter House.

After the battle, like so many homes in Franklin, the parlor of the Carter House was converted into a Confederate field hospital and witnessed many surgeries and amputations.

Around midnight, the Federal Army retreated to Nashville to join the forces of General George Thomas.

The 23rd Corps lost 958, and the 4th Corps lost 1,368. 189 men were killed, 1,033 were wounded, 1,104 captured and 287 cavalry casualties. Only 1 Federal General was wounded (Major General David Stanley, Corps Commander).

More than 1,750 men were killed outright or died of mortal wounds, 3,800 seriously wounded and 702 captured (not including cavalry casualties). 15 out of 28 Confederate Generals were casualties. 65 field grade officers were lost. Some infantry regiments lost 64 % of their strength at Franklin. There were more men killed in the Confederate Army of Tennessee in the 5- hour battle than in the 2-day Battle of Shiloh and the 3-day Battle of Stones River.

In the spring of 1866, the McGavock Family of Franklin donated 2 acres near their home, Carnton, to establish a Confederate Cemetery where 1,481 soldiers are laid to rest.

The Army of Tennessee died at Franklin on November 30, 1864. The Carter House was purchased by the State of Tennessee in 1951 and first opened to the public in 1953, today a Registered Historic Landmark, is dedicated to all Americans who fought in this battle.

3D 34
Carter House

Built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter, and in use by three generations of his family. Here was command post of Maj. Gen. Jacob G. Cox, Federal field commander of Schofield's delaying action. The hottest fighting took place just east and south; nearby, Capt. Theodoric Carter, CSA, a son of the family was mortally wounded.

Tennessee Historical Commission

Marker reads the same on both sides.

Type of site: Historic Home

1140 Columbia Avenue
Franklin, TN USA

Phone Number: 615-791-1861

Admission Charged: More than $5

Website: [Web Link]

Driving Directions:
Exit 65 (Franklin and Highway 96). Drive west on Hwy 96 for 1 mile to intersection of Mack Hatcher Boulevard. Continue straight through traffic light. Drive 1.5 miles following brown "Carter House" signs, over railroad tracks, and turn left at traffic light at Church Street. Go straight through two 4-way stop signs. At next traffic light, turn left onto Columbia Avenue (Highway 31 South). Drive 0.3 miles then turn right onto West Fowlkes Avenue. Parking lot for The Carter House will be on your left.

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