Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank / Carnton Becomes a Hospital

Marker ID:  
Location: 1345 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin, TN
County: Williamson
Coordinates: N 35° 54.304    W 086° 51.535
  35.90506666    -86.85891666
Waymark: None


Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank
Carnton Becomes a Hospital

Confederate Gen. Willaim Loring’s division marched across the McGavock plantation during the battle. Anticipating heavy casualties, his officers chose Carnton for a hospital.

The main house was a sound choice. Less than a mile (.6 km) from the Union trenches, it stood just beyond the range of most artillery but within reach of stretcher bearers. It was near a major roadway (the Lewisburg Pike), ample firewood, and clean water. Large windows on the south side of the mansion let in sunlight for surgeries, but nothing could have prepared Carnton and the McGavocks for what happened during the night of the battle.

By sunset the wounded began to arrive, a few at first, and then scores. The family assisted as the injured and dying filled the house. Soon the porches, the yard, and the outbuildings held suffering men with broken bones, bullet wounds, concussions, and limbs shredded by artillery. John and Carrie McGavock and their two young children, Hattie and Winder, began tearing sheets, tablecloths, and clothes into bandages. Doctors performed amputations by lamplight. The floors became wet with blood.

In addition to Carnton, more than forty Franklin homes and buildings became temporary hospitals, yet more were needed. Altogether, roughly 5,000 soldiers were wounded at the Battle of Franklin, around five times the population of the town itself. For more than two weeks, Carnton and other places served as hospitals until the Confederate army retreated south after the Battle of Nashville. Even after the Federals took most of the wounded to Nashville, Carnton and other homes cared for a few convalescents well into 1865.

Erected Tennessee Civil War Trails.

[This marker may also be found on HMDB.org]