Franklin is a city south of Nashville, Tennessee. During the American Civil War, many historical events took place there. Many visitors go to this city to look at the galleries, antique shops, and restored Victorian buildings.
Downtown Franklin, Tennessee. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin,_Tennessee).
However, what most people want to see is the Carnton Mansion or the Carnton Plantation. Many say that it is haunted because of the Battle of Franklin during the American Civil War.
The Carnton Mansion as seen from the outside. (Link: http://ulsternashville.blogspot.com/2011/02/carnton-scotch-irish-plantation_21.html)
The History Of Carnton Mansion
The Carnton Mansion was built by Randal McGavock. He migrated from Virginia to Nashville, Tennessee. He was quite prominent because he served as the Mayor of the city for a year and later got acquainted with Presidents James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson. He bought the property where the Carnton Mansion was built but it was unclear when it was purchased. What was stated in the records was that the smokehouse of the Carnton Mansion was first constructed in the year 1815. An additional main house was built in 1826.
Randal McGavock in an undated illustration. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/236931630371135856/)
The McGavocks used their property to grow crops like corn, hay, oats, potatoes, and wheat. They also raised and bred livestock.
Randal died in 1843. The Carnton Mansion was left to his son John. He married Carrie Winder in 1848 and they renovated the mansion into Greek Revival-style, which was famous during that time. It had fashionable wallpapers and faux paintings. There were also carpets in most of the rooms. John and his wife likewise installed a fireplace mantel.
John McGavock and his wife Carrie. (Link: https://emergingcivilwar.com/2014/11/30/the-mcgavocks-carnton-and-the-battle-of-franklin/)
In the northwest area from the house is a two-acre cemetery called the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. This is the largest privately-owned military cemetery in the whole of United States. The lot was donated by the McGavock family after the Battle of Franklin as many soldiers were killed and they needed a permanent burial ground.
An old photo showing the McGavock Confederate Cemetery. (Link: http://gregsegroves.blogspot.com/2013/11/carnton-confederate-cemetery.html)
More on the Civil War, John and his wife helped the soldiers. John was already 46 during the war so he could not be enlisted. He just helped outfit and organize the groups of soldiers in the area. His wife, on the other hand, sewed the uniforms for these soldiers. By November 30, 1864, the Carnton Mansion became the largest temporary field hospital that tended to those who were wounded and dying. Many floors in the Carnton Mansion were stained with the bloods of these people. The heaviest stains were reportedly found in one of the bedrooms in the southern area of the home because this was used as an operating room. The bloods reportedly soaked the carpets and the wood floors.
The blood stains as seen in one of the rooms at the Carnton Mansion. (Link: http://gregsegroves.blogspot.com/2013/11/carnton-plantation.html)
Around 300 soldiers were treated at the Carnton Mansion. A hundred and fifty allegedly died on the first night the mansion became a makeshift hospital. More and more died the following days.
The war ended on December 1. The residents of Franklin had to bury over 2,500 of the dead.
After the war, John continued to farm his land with former slaves. He died in 1893. His wife died in 1905.
Their son, Winder, inherited the home. However, he died in 1907. Winder’s widow and children then moved to Franklin.
By the year 1909, the eastern kitchen wing of the Carnton Mansion was destroyed by a tornado. Winder’s widow then sold the mansion in 1911.
Many became the owner of the Carnton Mansion but the building was in disrepair in the 60s through the 70s. In the year 1977, the Carnton Association was formed to raise money in order to buy, maintain, and restore the mansion. The restorations were completed in the 90s.
Now, the Carnton Mansion is maintained and managed by the Battle of Franklin Trust.
The Ghosts At The Carnton Mansion
The Ghosts At The Kitchen
According to paranormal experts, there are two spirits that haunt the kitchen area of the Carnton Mansion. The ghosts reportedly like to play tricks on the living and they even do the chores in the kitchen like washing the dishes. One of the ghosts is said to be that of a young woman who rejected a suitor. That woman was reportedly murdered and her weeps could still be heard in the kitchen especially at dusk.
The other spirit is said to belong to the head cook who served the family during the Civil War. The cook is said to be seen floating in the hallway near the kitchen. Sometimes, the cook even makes noises in the kitchen doing the duties she used to do.
The Carnton Mansion at night. (Link: https://williamsonsource.com/4-haunted-places-in-franklin/)
They are reportedly not limited to the kitchen as they sometimes move to other parts of the mansion.
The Spirits Of The Fallen Soldiers
Experts claim that the fallen soldiers particularly want to make their presence known during autumn. They are most active during this time.
One of the most active spirits belongs to a former general named Pat Celburne. He has a mustache and a short beard. He has piercing eyes an could be seen at the back porch of the Carnton Mansion. He could be seen walking around the mansion and even talks to persons who are walking alone. One particular instance with Celburne involved a man who wanted to see the Carnton Mansion but it was closed. The man, identified only as Mr. P, decided to walk around and saw the silhouette of a man who was about to get on a horse. However, the horse vanished. Mr. P then talked to the other man thinking he was part of the re-enactment that is shown in the Carnton Mansion.
Mr. P asked the man, who was dressed like a Civil War Confederate Officer, what happened to the horse and the latter explained the horse was shot. The man continued to tell Mr. P that he believed not many men will survive the war. Later, the man, who was talking to another spirit, allegedly said, “Well, Govan, if we ae to die, let us die like men.” The man then vanished.
Mr. P continued to share that after the man, believed to be Celburne, vanished, he heard the officer’s voice yelling, “Charge men! Charge.” During this time, Mr. P still believed it was a re-enactment. The next day, he went back to the Carnton Mansion and found out he actually had an encounter with Celburne.
The back porch of the Carnton where the General is usually spotted. (Link: https://ckc4me.wordpress.com/tag/ghosts-of-the-battle-of-franklin/)
A Visitor’s Encounter
One visitor shared through a comment in one of the websites that published an article about the Carnton Mansion the following, “I was waiting on the tour to start so decided I would walk to the slave quarters to look it over when from behind me, I heard two little girls giggle so I stepped aside assuming there were two girls coming up behind me to let them pass but when I turned around there was no one there. Later at the top of the steps of the slave quarters, I turned to head down the steps when I felt a push and grabbed the railing to keep myself from falling.”
It is unclear who these little girls were.
A photo of the slave quarters at the Carnton Plantation. (Link: http://www.nashville-vacation-fun.com/carnton-plantation.html)