Last week my parents came for a visit. We took a day and headed up to Franklin, Williamson Co., Tennessee for some genealogy research on our Warren line and to also tour the Carnton Plantation.
We were not able to take any pictures inside the plantation but here are a few I took of the outside. You will see where the kitchen was joined to the house.
A little Carnton Plantation History:
Randal McGavock emigrated from Virginia to Tennesse and named his plantation the Carnton which was a term from County Antrim, Ireland, his fathers birth place, in Gaelic it’s cairn meaning “a pile of stones.” Randal was good friends with President Andrew Jackson who visited several times. President Jackson gave a rocking chair to Randal which is still there today; Randal also new President James K. Polk.
Randal died in 1843, leaving his property to his two sons, James and John. John took possession of the plantation. John married Carrie Winder who was his cousin and known as the “Widow of the South”, from Ducros Plantation in Louisiana. Today there are not many original items left in the house. Several years after John’s death, Carrie sold the house. Through the years it went into several hands then fell in disrepair. In 1978 the Carnton Association acquired it and 10 acres. Randall originally had over 1,000 acres. Up until the 1990s the house was under restoration, bring it back to its original state. Several items have been donated from family members. There is a clock on the mantel in the parlor that is original and still running all these years.
Prior to the battle of Franklin, Carrie was at the end of the front walk and saw the troops appear from the tree line marching their way through. Within 20 minutes after the battle started the Carnton Plantation became the Confederate field hospital. The wounded were laid in every room, shoulder to shoulder. As the surgeons worked the carpets and wood floors became saturated with blood. Today you can see the stains on the wood floors, especially in the nursery which was one of the operating rooms.
During the time the soldiers were being tended to by the surgeons, it is thought that the McGavock family stayed in the 2nd floor kitchen area. In 1909 a tornado destroyed the 2 story kitchen but today you can see where archaeologists have excavated the grounds and where the kitchen was built onto the house. Carrie cared for the wounded by comforting them, feeding them and writing letters for them. On the back porch four Confederate Generals had died: Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F. Strahl and Hiram B. Granbury.
After the battle there were over 2,500 dead soldiers, 1,750 were Confederates. Orders were to bury them in shallow graves by units, regiments, and companies so their identities were not lost. Almost everyone was identified. By 1865 the wood markers were rotting and the names disappearing so John and Carrie donated 2 acres for the Confederate dead. The Union dead were taken to other locations. In the spring of 1866 the last Confederate soldier was reburied in what was and still is called the McGavock Confederate Cemetery.
On the 2nd floor, encased in a glass cabinet is a cemetery record book, which Carrie was given after the battle but through time names have been lost but as of now 780 confederate soldiers’ identities are positively identified, which leaves 558 unknown.