|Confederate Cemetery at Franklin, Tenn. John McGavock's plantation house appears in right background.|
(CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
Like this blog on Facebook
|1,496 Confederates are buried in the cemetery on the old|
McGavock plantation, according to the historical sign there.
After the war, a national cemetery for Union dead originally interred in the Franklin, Tenn., area was considered, but local citizens were bitterly opposed. In a report from the quartermaster military division of Tennessee sent to Washington on June 6, 1866, Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs wrote:
"The [military] board [of officers] states that the citizens of Franklin will do everything in their power to defeat the locating of a cemetery there and will not sell land to the government at any price. In case a location is taken forcibly, a guard of twenty (20) men will be necessary to prevent desecration.
"The board, therefore, recommend that no national cemetery should be established at Franklin; the cost of removing the five hundred (500) bodies to Nashville, where there is ample room, or Columbia, where land has been donated being trifling in comparison with the expense of maintaining a guard to protect them at Franklin.
"Brevet Major General JL Donaldson in forwarding the above report states that Major General Thomas wishes to locate a cemetery at Franklin, as an important battle was fought there; but the people are hostile, and will not sell land for such a purpose. It will therefore be necessary to seize what is needed. But General Thomas does not feel authorized to seize land and therefore directs General Donaldson to submit the question to the Quartermaster General for the requisite authority of the Secretary of War. In case land cannot be had at Franklin, General Donaldson states the dead can be removed to Columbia, where land has been donated to the government.
"In consideration of the facts that the cemetery at Franklin would require a keeper; that the number of bodies is not great, and that the graves will be liable to desecration from the hostility of the people, I would respectfully recommend that authority be not granted to seize land for a national cemetery at Franklin, Tennessee, but that the bodies of all Union soldiers interred there be removed to the national cemetery at Columbia, Tennessee. This will save the United States an expense of not less than a thousand dollars per year of keeping up a cemetery at Franklin without adding to the annual cost of the Columbia cemetery when once established." (Hat tip: Daniel Crone for pointing out Meigs report.)
On a frigid Saturday afternoon, I walked among the rows of graves at the McGavock Confederate Cemetery -- the largest privately owned military cemetery in the country -- to shoot these photographs.
|A Confederate flag adorns a marker designating 51 South Carolina dead.|
|An unknown marker near an old gravestone and a tree stump.|
|The McGavock family donated a two-acre plot for the cemetery.|
|A close-up of a marker for Confederate unknowns from the Battle of Franklin.|
|Eighteen soldiers from Louisiana are among the 1,491 Confederates interred at the cemetery.|
|A more recent marker near an old marker for Confederate unknown.|
|Sixty-nine Georgia dead are among soldiers from nine Confederate states buried in the cemetery.|
|A marker for unknown. The privately run cemetery relies on donations. Click here for more information.|