The Carnton Plantation
Then-Nashville mayor Randal McGavock built the house on this property in 1826. The property had a sad early history as three children born to McGavock's son, John, and wife Carrie, died at an early age after prolonged illnesses. Carrie McGavock was said to have slipped into a heavy depression over the losses. At the time, she had no idea that things were going to get much, much worse.
The Battle of Franklin
On November 30, 1864, the Civil War arrived in Franklin, Tennessee. The Battle of Franklin was one of the few night battles of the war and was also the beginning of the end for the Confederate Army of Tennessee. As the battle raged nearby, the dead and wounded were brought to Carnton Plantation. The family did their best to help and opened their house to wounded soldiers from both sides. The beds quickly filled up and soon so did the floors. As the battle continue to rage, the house and all of the outbuildings were so full of wounded soldiers, that others would be placed on the property grounds outside the house. Mrs. McGavock supplied old linens when the doctors ran out of bandages, but soon had to supply her towels, napkins, sheets, tablecloths, clothes and even her own undergarments to keep up with the amount of wounded soldiers brought in.
A bedroom upstairs was converted into a makeshift surgery room and a stack of amputated limbs began to fill the yard outside. It is said that the bodies of five Confederate Generals were placed on the porch outside, as they awaited burial. Today, there are red stains throughout the house that are believed to be the stains of blood of wounded and/or dying soldiers.
In 1866, two years after the devastating battle, the McGavock's donated two acres of their plantation as a cemetery for the Confederate soldiers that lost their life. They raised money and actively participated in the exhumation and re-interment of nearly 1,500 Confederate troops that had been buried where they died on the battlefield. Today, the cemetery is still on the Plantation's ground and is known as the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. After the war was over, the McGavock family continued to live on the plantation until 1911. Carrie McGavock's efforts to treat the soldiers during the battle, subsequent mourning for those that their lives, and efforts to see to their proper burial earned her the nickname of "The Widow of the South". Her story was the basis for the historical fictional novel, The Widow of the South, by author Robert Hicks that was published in 2005.
The Ghosts of the Past
The Carnton Foundation saved the house and property from years of neglect and disrepair in 1978. They restored the house and reopened it to the general public as a museum, which it remains today. Some of the ghosts of the past are said to still haunt the grounds. Ghosts of a woman, children, soldiers and even a Confederate General (who is said to pace about the porch) have been reported. Similarly, the sounds of horses charging are heard over an empty field, as well as ghostly moans and cries. A candlelight ghost tour is offered on occasion at night. For information on this and all general information regarding the Plantation, please visit the site below.