Monday, April 25, 2011

The disaster inflicted upon the McGavock family was repeated over the entire community of Franklin. The shattered armies moved on, leaving their dead and most of their wounded behind them as they engaged in another terrible conflict at Nashville.

The victorious Union army returned to Franklin and retrieved their dead and arranged for their burial in military cemetaries. The defeated rebel army was in dissaray

For the remainder of her life, Carrie McGavock would labor to have the confederate dead located and moved from their shallow mass graves on the battlefield and brought to this piece of ground near her home where every attempt was made to identify the remains and make contact with their surviving families. For many it was not possible, but for those she identified it was a great comfort to their families. She became known far and wide as "The Widow of the South." Her's is a story worth reading. What you see here in the picture I took today, April 25, is the largest private cemetary for military dead in these United States. It is located on the Carnton Plantation, just a short distance to the north and west of the McGavock home. It is now hallowed and sacred ground, a beautiful and peaceful setting that helps us to have faith that something good can come from something so bad.

One of the most compelling stories coming out of the Battle of Franklin centers on the actions taken by John and Carrie McGavock, residents of the home shown here, located on the outskirts of Franklin. Before the battle was over, four of the six Confederate generals who would die from wounds suffered during this conflict were laid side by side on the porch. Every spare inch of floor in every room but one was occupied by the wounded. They were even layed out upon the stairs and landings. The dead were placed in long rows in the yard. Doors were pulled from their hinges and laid on chairs to serve as operating tables. The pile of shattered appendages, amputated arms, legs, hands and feet were piled above the hight of the downstairs windows as the army surgeons did their brutal work with saw and knife. Mrs. McCavock, her husband and servants toiled for endless hours, using all their resources in an attempt to aid the medical staff and attend to the cry's of the dying.

At the Carter home our guide pointed out the long mound of earth which shows where the Union forces were "dug-in," awaiting the advance of the Confederate soldiers. This line, we were told, was actually a fall-back position with other breast works erected and manned further out to the south. Before the battle was over, late into the night, these very grounds were heaped with dead and wounded, both blue and gray, where they swarmed upon one another in hand-to-hand combat. As one historian has described: "This was a time of utter darkness,where the Devil held total sway upon the minds of men."

At the Carter house, our guide walked us over to the "battle side" of the home's out buildings. Their exterior walls still show the shell and bullet holes that cut trees in half and riddled every thing in sight on that fatal day.

Franklin, Tennessee is a lovely community, situated just south of Nashville. A Civil War battle took place here on November 30, 1864. There were tragic losses on both sides, but especially among the men of the Army of Tennessee who advanced en mass across open ground, south of the Union army's breast works.

This is the Carter home. The Carter's sought shelter in their basement as the battle raged all about them for 9 hours. The home shown here and the out buildings that are part of the property have been preserved as an historic site.

This one-day battle ended the great Army of Tennessee as an effective fighting unit, leaving over 15,000 of its brave soldiers dead or wounded. The subsequent battle, later at Nashville completed the destruction.

When we finally arrived in Franklin, Tennessee Sunday afternoon, I admit to being a little tired, but this guy I sat down beside in a place called the Franklin Factory, well, he was really, really tired!
We were hoping to have a more leisurely experience, viewing the sights on the trip down the Land Between the Rivers, but a woman who makes and sells her own fudge at a nearby shop, told us the radio was broadcasting a tornado warning and that we best find shelter.

We got back on the road south and made our way toward Clarksville where we found a room for the night, safe and sound as the storms rolled by, dropping heavy rain and setting off the alarm in our car during repeated strikes of lightning close by. All, just made to order for Linda, who enjoys a thunderstorm at least as much as her husband, if not more so.

While sharing a bbq pork sandwich we were joined by two canadian geese. There was a breeze blowing across the water. It looked a little choppy but it didn't seem to bother the geese or the fishermen, or the boaters.

Kerry Beyeler told us that as we headed down toward Nashville to be sure and take the time to depart from I-24 outside Paduka, Kentucky and drive down through the federal park known as "The Land Between the Rivers." So, we did. The sky was threatening, but the rain held off long enough for us to stop and have a picnic lunch on the shore of Barkley Lake during our drive down this beautiful federally protected park, which is entirely surrounded with water on three sides, extending from Kentucky into Tennessee, north of Clarksville. It was very enjoyable.