About The Battle of Franklin Trust

The mission of The Battle of Franklin Trust is to preserve, understand, and interpret the story of a people forever impacted by the American Civil War.

The Battle of Franklin Trust is a 501(c)(3) organization. We manage two historic sites in Franklin, Tennessee, that witnessed the 1864 Battle of Franklin: The Carter House and Carnton Plantation.

The Battle of Franklin

Fate and circumstance placed Franklin in the path of two great armies in late November 1864. Federal troops arrived in Franklin around dawn on November 30, 1864. Federal Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox set up his headquarters at the Carter House after waking the family around dawn. The Confederate troops, commanded by Gen. John Bell Hood, began to arrive on the southern edge of Franklin around 1 pm.

The battle began at 4 pm with roughly 20,000 Confederate soldiers moving forward toward a similar number of Federal troops. The two armies came into close contact shortly before 4:30 pm and the fighting soon became brutal and fiendishly savage. The sun set soon after the battle reached its apex and it was completely dark, except for the flashing of the guns, only a few minutes after 5 pm. Around midnight the Federal army withdrew from the battlefield. Left behind was a small town and a battered Confederate army.

Altogether, some 10,000 American soldiers became casualties at Franklin and about three-fourths of that number were Confederates. About 2,300 men died, some 7,000 were wounded, and roughly 1,000 were taken prisoner. When recollecting the battle years later one man said simply, “It was as if the devil had full possession of the earth.”

The Carter House

The Carter House was built in 1830 by Fountain Branch Carter. It witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War on November 30, 1864. The modest brick home was commandeered and used as a Federal command post while the Carter family, as well as the Lotz family, sought refuge in the basement during the fighting which erupted on their property. This National Historic Landmark has been open to the public since 1953 and serves as a memorial to the Battle of Franklin and the Carter family.

Carnton Plantation

Carnton was built in 1826 by Randal McGavock. His son, John, inherited the house in 1843. The McGavock family was directly impacted by the Battle of Franklin and found their home used as a field hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. Carnton became the largest hospital in the area following the battle. After the war John and his wife, Carrie, set aside nearly two acres of their property so that the remains of Southern dead who died in the battle might be properly buried. The National Historic Landmark has been open to the public since the late 1970s and allows visitors to better understand the humanity which often appears in the midst of war.

Board of Directors

  • Cullen Smith, Chair
  • Dave Fentress, Vice President
  • Tim Kearns, Secretary
  • Mike Plumley, Treasurer
  • Barry Allen
  • Ernie Bacon
  • Michael Bailey
  • Kelly Gilfillan
  • Bruce Hohler
  • Eric Mannino
  • Amanda Rose
  • Gary Rosenthal
  • Ed Underwood
  • Deborah Warnick
  • Susan Williams