On the morning of November 30, 1864 Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest arrived at Carnton Plantation to do some reconnaissance work. The lady of the house, Carrie McGavock, watched as thousands of soldiers marched past the house on their way to nearby Franklin.
Wounded soldiers began to arrive at Carnton almost immediately as the fighting started.
Every room was filled, every bed held two men, every spare space, niche, and corner under the stairs, in the hall, and everywhere except one room where the McGavock family stayed.
When the house could hold no more, the yard was filled with the wounded and dying.
As the bodies of 4 generals lay on the back porch, Carrie McGavock began giving her linen, towels, napkins, sheets, tablecloths, her husband's shirts, and, finally, her own undergarments to be used as bandages.
Even after the Army of Tennessee retreated to the south, following the Battle of Nashville in mid-December, at least 29 badly injured soldiers remained at Carnton.
After the war, Carrie's husband, John, continued farming at Carnton recovering his fortunes by 1868.
African-Americans continued to make up much of his workforce as they toiled under the new banner of sharecroppers and hired hands.
Frustratingly, no pictures were allowed inside the big house.
In the early months of 1866 John McGavock donated land near his family cemetery to move the Confederate dead from where they had been buried following the Battle of Franklin.
The burial team moved the remains of 1,481 soldiers to Carnton.
The Confederate dead were buried as nearly as possible by State and a complete record of all the graves were kept by the family.
Eventually, Carnton went out of the family name. In April 1909 an entire wing of the house was badly damaged by a tornado and removed. Restoration began on the house in the mid-1980's and it is beautifully decorated in the style of the time period. However, blood still stains the wood floors in most of the rooms.