Carnton Plantation


Once a vibrant plantation, the home of John and Carrie McGavock served as field hospital to hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers following the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864.

Since most of the battle took place after dark, from 5 to 9 p.m., the McGavocks witnessed the explosions of guns and muskets in the sky over Franklin.

More than 1,750 Confederates died at Franklin. On Carnton's back porch, four Confederate generals’ bodies—Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F. Strahl and Hiram B. Granbury—were laid out.

With 6,000 soldiers wounded and another 1,000 missing, many area homes became temporary hospitals, but Carnton was the largest hospital site. Hundreds of Confederate wounded and dying were tended by Carrie McGavock and the family after the battle. As many as 300 Confederate soldiers were cared for inside Carnton alone. Scores, if not hundreds more, were spread out through the rest of the property. Some wounded slept outside, though the temperature fell below zero.

In early 1866, the McGavocks designated two acres of land as a final burial place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Franklin. The McGavocks maintained the cemetery until their deaths.

  • Carnton is the setting of the best-selling novel The Widow of the South.
  • The restored house, grounds and garden are open for tours daily.
  • Less than a mile from the Union Eastern flank, Carnton was the epicenter for tending the wounded and dying.