Scenic USA - Tennessee

Carnton Plantation

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Carnton Plantation House - Franklin, Tennessee

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Franklin, better known for Carnton House - Franklin, Tennessee one of the most devastating battles of the Civil War, is home to the Carnton Plantation built by former Nashville mayor Randal Wm. McGavock. Here during the Battle of Franklin, the Carter House and Carnton Plantation were surrounded by more than 50,000 soldiers. Leading one of the largest forces of the Confederate army at the time, General John B. Hood pitted 27,000 of his soldiers against an entrenched Federal army of matched strength. Hoping to destroy John Schofield’s Union forces, Bell forced his Army of Tennessee into a furious frontal assault. Sometimes called Pickett's Charge of the West, the battle began about 4 pm on November 30, 1864. In less than five hours, the South suffered more than 7000 casualties, including fourteen Confederate generals. Following a subsequent battle in just a week, the Army of Tennessee retreated with nearly half the men with which it began.
   Built decades before the Civil War in 1826, unfortunately the Carnton Plantation is more famous for its blood-stained floors than its antebellum splendor. Carnton Outbuilding Hearth - Franklin, Tennessee Nevertheless, today the Carnton Home is the product of a masterful restoration. Beginning in the mid-1980s, everything in the house was thoroughly examined from old paint chips to layers of wallpaper and carpets to household hardware. Using recreated trim were possible, the Carnton House looks just as it did in 1864. Walls and trim were painted in original colors. Wallpapers were made to look like roller-printed paper. And trim was painted to resemble more expensive pieces of wood, just as many other homes built during the antebellum period.
   Along with home tours, guests are invited to explore the gardens McGavock Confederate Cemetery - Franklin, Tennessee around the home, as well as the out-buildings and the nearby McGavock Confederate Cemetery. Laid out on two acres adjacent the McGavock family burial ground, the McGavock Cemetery is the largest privately owned military cemetery in America. Cared for by the McGavocks until their deaths, the cemetery holds nearly 1500 Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin.
   McGavock family members lived in the house until 1911 when Susie Lee McGavock sold the property. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the plantation was then donated to the Carnton Association. After a long period of fund raising and meticulous restoration, the house is open for daily guided tours. If time permits, guests may visit both historic houses. The Carter House is just over a mile away.

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