The Carnton Plantation
The Carnton Plantation was built in 1826 in Franklin Tennessee by Randal McGavock (the 11th mayor of Nashville). It was named after his ancestral home in Ireland.
Carnton Plantation was originally on 1,400 acres (500 of which were used for farming) Among the many people entertained here was Andrew Jackson. Randal McGavock’s daughter Elizabeth married William Giles Harding owner of Belle Meade Plantation. Randal died in 1843 and by 1860 his son John & daughter-in-law Carrie took over.
The Civil War on the Carnton Plantation
When the American Civil War broke out John McGavock was too old to enlist but he helped outfit and organize groups of Confederate soldiers there at the Carnton Plantation while Mrs. McGavock sewed uniforms for family and friends.
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As the war grew closer John sent most of his slaves to Louisianna to hide them from the Union Troops. When Union troops took middle Tennessee and learned that the McGavocks had been aiding the Confederate soldiers they took thousands of dollars of grain, cattle, timber, and horses from the plantation.
The war waged on there at Carnton Plantation in brutal close hand-to-hand combat on that once quiet lawn. On November 30, 1964, Carnton Plantation became the biggest temporary field hospital for treating the soldiers that were wounded and dying in the Battle of Franklin.
Bullet holes riddled the walls of the home and men bloodied and dying were carried into its once quiet halls. Hour after hour they brought them until the house had no more room and then the lawns became a field hospital for these boys.
Comfortable bedrooms became a surgery. Candles flickered their dim lights as the surgeons did their work in the wee hours of the night. Even after the restoration of the house was done the floor in that bedroom shows the grim reminder of where the bucket the surgeon used sat upon the floor.
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More than 1,750 southern soldiers lost their lives at Franklin. On the back porch of the Carnton, the bodies of 4 southern generals were laid out after being carried in from the battle where they later lost their lives.
The McGavocks tended as many as 300 soldiers inside Carnton though at least 140 died that first night alone. Hundreds of others were scattered across the plantation. After the Union soldiers moved toward Nashville the citizens of Franklin were faced with burying more than 2,500 soldiers.
John and Carry donated 2 acres of their property to be used as a Confederate Cemetery After the war McGavock continued to farm Carnton under share crop arrangements with his former slaves until his death in 1893.
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For more information on the Carnton Plantation see their website here: http://boft.org/
Civil War, History, Plantation, Tennessee
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