The Carter House Historical Attraction in Franklin, TN

Civil War landmark takes visitors back in time with exhibits and detailed talks.

Laura Hill
On Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 23:23
The Carter House

Carter House History

It was by lantern light that his sisters and father found young Tod Carter as he was being carried from the battlefield‚ close to death. In the gathering dusk of a late November day‚ the young Confederate captain was on his way to a home he had not seen in three years‚ and on whose grounds he had been severely wounded during the Battle of Franklin. While his family agonized‚ Carter exhorted his men. “Follow me‚ boys‚” he cried. “I’m almost home.”

Just two days later‚ in the parlor of his boyhood home‚ young Tod Carter died. There are few more poignant stories from the Civil War than Tod Carter’s. Though it may be its most dramatic chapter‚ his is just part of the fascinating story of The Carter House‚ which was the center of Franklin’s Civil War saga.

The home of Fountain Branch Carter and his family had seen skirmishes in the War Between the States‚ but nothing compared to what came on Nov. 30‚ 1864. Surprised by Union troops as they swept toward Nashville‚ 23 family members and friends sought shelter in the basement of the home‚ while for five hours indescribable carnage took place literally on their front doorsteps.

The Carter family emerged only to turn their home‚ like most in Franklin‚ into a hospital for their own son and other soldiers. Today‚ the house and accompanying museum is a Registered Historic Landmark that draws fascinated visitors from around the world. The landmark’s popularity comes from its ability to bring the past to life. Instead of glorifying death‚ it glorifies the lives and dreams of those affected by the War.

The Carter House Today

The simple‚ elegant brick building is now a neighbor to offices‚ shops and restaurants. Even so‚ it retains its stately ambiance. Formal rooms recall the antebellum life of a prosperous Franklin family‚ while the museum’s photos‚ film‚ artifacts and memorabilia give chilling testimony to the bloody fight that saw 2‚500 federal casualties and 7‚000 Confederate dead and wounded

Each November‚ the anniversary of the battle is marked with ceremonies‚ a solemn march across the battlefield to The Carter House‚ lectures and demonstrations. A candlelight tour of historic homes is held in December. The Carter House also sponsors an annual Military Camp for boys and girls interested in learning about the War.

Learn more about Franklin, TN historical attractions.


Laura Hill is a former reporter/columnist for the Tennessean and a contributor to Journal Communications publications since 1996.