Carnton House in Franklin, Tennessee
Photo: Margie Thessin
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Carnton Plantation

The 1864 Battle of Franklin left behind a legacy for the people of its namesake Tennessee town. Take Carrie McGavock. She's been known to sit on her porch and look out at the Civil War cemetery adjacent to Carnton, her Greek Revival mansion. While this may seem normal for a resident of a town steeped in antebellum history, there is something peculiar about McGavock: She's been dead since 1905. Carrie—the subject of Robert Hicks' best-selling novel, The Widow of the South—lived at Carnton with her husband, John, when the Civil War's bloodiest hours raged outside its doors. The mansion was used as a military hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. After the war, when farming threatened to overturn the shallow graves of the fallen, the McGavocks designated land beside their family plot as a burial ground for nearly 1,500 soldiers. According to Margie Thessin, director of the Franklin on Foot tour operation, Carrie McGavock watches over the graves to this very day. Margie's daughter, Anna, saw Carrie's ghost wearing a long, pink gown. If you'd like to try and see Carrie yourself, the Carnton Plantation is open for tours.
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