Carnton is a two-story plantation mansion built in 1826 and completed in 1830 by Nashville Major Randal McGavock. The land was used for farming wheat, corn and potatoes as well as raising thoroughbred horses. After Randal passed in 1843, his son John inherited the plantation. In 1864, during the five-hour Battle of Franklin, John and his family converted their home into a field hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers and assisted the nurses and surgeons as much as they could. Since so many died in the house, and it was the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, many say the home is haunted. Next to the McGavock family cemetery on the property, John made a two-acre cemetery for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers. The surrounding acreage was all battlefield. Now the house is a museum, and visitors can see the blood stains still on the second floor during their tour.
Fountain Branch Carter built the brick home in 1830 on 19 acres of land. Fountain decided to pursue farming and grow wheat, Irish potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and oats. In 1850, a cotton gin was added to their farm, and by 1960, the Carters owned 285 acres of land. The farm grew and prospered steadily until the Battle of Franklin. On the morning of the battle, Union Army General Jacob D. Cox took over the parlor of Carter House and temporarily made it his headquarters. He saw the land around the home to be great for defense and had trenches dug just south of the house, destroying many of their barns. The intense battle left permanent bullet holes in the house and outbuildings. Fountain and his family sought protection in their basement during the entirety of the battle—except for Fountain’s son, Captain Tod Carter, who was returning to his childhood home as well as fighting for the Confederates. Wounded Tod Carter made it back to the house the next day to die surrounded by his family. During the museum tour, visitors will see the room where he passed at age 24.
German immigrant Johann Albert Lotz was a talented carpenter whose hand-carved designs are featured throughout the home, especially in the three custom fireplaces. In 1869, Lotz was threatened out of the home after making a controversial design on a piano. The Heritage Foundation saved the Lotz House from being demolished in 1974, and J.T. Thompson purchased it in 1991 to restore its historical elements and turn it into the museum it is today.
The Lotz family joined the Carters, who were close neighbors, in their basement for 17 hours during the battle as the Lotzes did not think their wooden house could weather the storm. Lotz had bought 5 acres of land for their house from Fountain Carter in 1855. Directly after the battle, the Lotz home served as a hospital for soldiers from both sides until the following summer. Visitors can see the blood stains and Lotz’s patchwork on the floor from where a cannonball crashed through the roof. Matilda Lotz, Johann’s daughter was only six years old at the time of the battle and grew to be a highly recognized painter in Paris and California, where she lived and studied. Six of her original oil paintings are presented in the Lotz house today.
Fort Granger was named after Union General Gordon Granger. In 1862, the 275,000-square-foot fort was strategically built by Union soldiers north of the Harpeth River on Figuers Bluff and parallel to the railroad leading to Nashville in order to guard it. Thousands of troops were stationed there, prepared with their weapons, but were soon ordered to leave. The cavalier was at the highest elevation and withheld the most artillery for an ideal attacking post. The powder magazine with a shed built over it to keep it dry was stationed near the middle of the fort and held more than 1,000
rounds. The fort was used twice in 1863 when Confederate cavalry forces tried to raid the fort. That June, two Confederates were hung for spying and giving false information to a colonel. Today, travelers can take a short hike from Pinkerton Park to the preserved remains and earthworks around the perimeter of the fort.