Event Summary

Join military Historian Bill Potter on this fascinating tour of the Civil War in Middle Tennessee. We will visit remarkable sites and tell the compelling and tragic stories of the brave, sacrificial men and the resilient, compassionate women swept up in the storm of war. Wednesday will include tours of three historic homes in Franklin and Spring Hill. Thursday we will follow the army’s path into Nashville and explore Fort Negley that commanded this capital city before transitioning down to interpret the monuments outside the capitol building and then explore the state museum on your own. We will end in time to make the opening session at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention at the Opryland Hotel where Bill Potter will be speaking.

“I liked the fact that we could ride separately to the different venues. If we didn’t want to visit one, we didn’t have to. Or we could leave it early or stay longer. I liked the freedom we had to explore on our own or with the group. This tour went above and beyond my expectations. I can’t wait to participate in another one in the future.” —Carol R. (Civil War in the West Tour)

Included in This Tour

Historian Bill Potter

Sam Turley

Tennessee State Museum

Tennessee State Capitol

Carnton Plantation

McGavock Cemetery

The Carter House

Rippavilla Plantation

Christian Fellowship

Children’s Reenactment Charge

Fort Negley Park

Winstead Hill Park

Included in This Tour

  • Admission and guide fees at Rippavilla Plantation
  • Admission and guide fees at Carter House
  • Admission and guide fees at Carnton Plantation
  • All other venue admissions and guide fees throughout the tour
  • Wireless headset receiver for ease of hearing guides
  • Biblical/providential interpretation from Bill Potter
  • Rich fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ
  • Optional dinner and discussion Wednesday evening at Olive Garden (dinner cost not covered as part of tour)

Ticket Pricing Information

Note: Early Bird prices shown below valid through March 9.


Full Event:$69 $62.10
Wednesday Only:$55 $49.50
Thursday Only:$25 $22.50


Full Event:$119 $107.10
Wednesday Only:$99 $89.10
Thursday Only:$35 $31.50

After the tour, Bill Potter will speaking at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville March 17-19. Separate registration required. Stop by our booth #TBA and register to win a complimentary registration on a future Landmark Events history tour!

Tour Highlights

Spring Hill

Spring Hill was the prelude to the Battle of Franklin. On the night of November 28, 1864, General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee marched toward Spring Hill to get astride Major General John M. Schofield’s Union army’s life line. November 29, during the night, the bulk of Schofield’s command passed from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin, right past the sleeping confederate army. This was, perhaps, Hood’s best chance to isolate and defeat the Union army.

Confederate General John Bell Hood

Rippavilla Plantation, Spring Hill, Tennessee

Winstead Hill

Next we will move to Winstead Hill (box lunch provided). Here the Confederates launched a charge that was almost twice as long as, and far more deadly than, the famous Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg a year earlier, costing them fourteen Confederate generals (six killed or mortally wounded, seven wounded, and one captured) and 55 regimental commanders. Here we will get an overview of the battle from the vantage point overlooking the town of Franklin, which is two miles to the north.

Winstead Hill Park, 2 Miles South of Franklin

Winstead Hill Monument Overlooking the Town of Franklin

Carter House

Carter House is our next stop. We will hear the remarkable story of the Carter family and their beloved son Todd who charged down from Winstead Hill to literally free his family from the Yankee command that had commandeered his house with his family locked in the basement. We will see the Carter farm office, the most bullet-riddled structure still standing from the War, and numerous other authentic relics from that turbulent time.

Home of Fountain Branch Carter

The Most Bullet-Riddled Structures Still Standing from the War

Carnton Plantation

Carnton Plantation is our final stop. Beginning at 4pm on November 30, 1864, Carnton witnessed what is believed to be the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War, beginning with a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. On the morning of December 1, 1864 the bodies of four Confederate generals killed during the fighting (Patrick R. Cleburne, Hiram B. Granbury, John Adams, and Otho F. Strahl), lay on Carnton’s back porch. The floors of the restored home are still stained with the blood of the men who were treated there. You will hear the remarkable accounts of bravery and valor by soldiers and citizens alike, as we culminate with a tour of America’s largest privately owned military cemetery and the remarkable story of how it came to be. Tour ends at 3:30pm. Opryland is 30 minutes away and the convention begins at 5pm.

Carnton Plantation, Home of the McGavock Family

The McGavock Confederate Cemetery

Fort Negley

Fort Negley is the Large Civil War-era Union stone fort. After its capture in 1862, Nashville was developed by Union forces into the most fortified city in North America, second only to Washington, D.C. A series of forts ringed the city, the largest and southernmost being Fort Negley, named for U.S. Gen. James Scott Negley, provost marshal and commander of Federal forces in Nashville. Fort Negley was the largest fortification built by the occupying Union Army in Nashville and the largest inland stone fort built during the Civil War. Measuring 600 feet by 300 feet, Negley covered four acres and was constructed from October to December 1862. The stronghold was constructed by conscript laborers, both slaves and free blacks, of stone, logs, earth, and railroad iron. More than 2700 African American men worked to build Fort Negley; only 300 were paid for their labor.

Entrance to Fort Negley Park

Antique Postcard Aerial View of Fort Negley

Tennessee State Capitol and Museum

Tennessee State Capitol

Tennessee State Museum

Event Speakers

Bill Potter

An experienced historian and avid bibliophile, Bill Potter combines a lifelong study of American history with an uncommon ability to captivate audiences of all ages as he traces the providential acts of God throughout the ages. Mr. Potter has taught history in high schools and colleges, has led many tours of American and European historical sites and brings to each event a wealth of experience and knowledge. An experienced researcher and writer, Mr. Potter possesses a practical knowledge of antiquarian books, documents, and artifacts and has published several short books and has penned many articles and book reviews for publication. Bill has earned a well-deserved reputation as a man gifted in communicating the story of God’s providential hand in American history. As a father of eight children, he appreciates the necessity of passing on to the succeeding generations the richness of both our regional and national history. He and his wife, Leslie, reside in Georgia.

Historian Bill Potter

Sam Turley

Sam Turley has been an ardent student of history — especially Southern and Civil War history — for over ten years. His extensive study has instilled in him a great respect for our nation’s forefathers. This, combined with his time serving as a historical interpreter at The Battle of Franklin Trust (an organization dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Franklin), has provided him with unique opportunities to speak to a variety of audiences on subjects related to 19th century history.

Historian Sam Turley

Event Schedule

Note: Schedule times and venues subject to change.

Wednesday, March 16

Battle of Franklin

    47 miles ≈ 45 mins. from Gaylord Opryland
9:00am Rippavilla Plantation — Spring Hill
5700 Main Street, Spring Hill
    13 miles ≈ 20 mins.
11:00am Winstead Hill
4023 Columbia Avenue, Franklin
    2 miles ≈ 5 mins.
    Lunch on your own*
Nearby restaurants or bring a picnic for Winstead Hill or Carter House
* Order Panera box lunch delivered to Carter House for $12
1:30pm Carter House
1140 Columbia Avenue, Franklin
    2 miles ≈ 5 mins.
3:00pm Carnton Plantation
1345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin
    19 miles ≈ 30 mins.
5:30pm Olive Garden*
1098 Crossings Circle, Spring Hill
* Optional fellowship time
Thursday, March 17

Battle of Nashville

    36 miles ≈ 45 mins. from Gaylord Opryland
9:00am Shy’s Hill
Benton Smith Rd., Nashville, TN 37215
    5 miles ≈ 18 mins.
10:30am Fort Negley
1100 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville
    2 miles ≈ 12 mins.
2:30pm Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street, Nashville
  Tennessee State Capitol
600 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
3:30pm   Conclusion of Tour
(Explore museum and capitol inside on your own)
    10 miles ≈ 15 mins. back to Gaylord Opryland

Downtown parking available at 400 Charlotte in the Music City Central Garage — $5 Early Bird (6:30am – 6:30pm); $8 up to 2 hours; $10 2-4 hours; $12 daily max; special events as posted — Premier Parking (615) 238-2250.

Also check Library Garage, 151 6th Ave N. — misc rate(s): $1 first 1/2 hour; $1 each additional 1/2 hour; $10 daily max; $5 after 5pm and weekends.

Looks like the best surface lot for those with larger vehicles is 714 Church — $7 for 2 hours; $10 until 6pm; Premier Parking (615) 238-2250.

Here is a map for you with most parking options: ParkItDowntown.com

There are many clean, economical hotels in Spring Hill or near the Opryland Hotel at which you may choose to stay.

Bill Potter will be speaking at the Teach Them Diligently Convention at the Opryland Hotel, Thursday-Saturday (separate admission required).


For those attending the Teach Them Diligently conference at the Opryland, convention rates are available through Teach Them Diligently.

If you are coming exclusively for the tour, there is a wide variety of accommodations throughout the Nashville / Franklin area.

We suggest the Best Western Inn and Suites in Spring Hill (104 Kedron Pkwy, Spring Hill, TN 37174, (931)-486-1234)

Study Prep

Key People

Carrie Mcgavock

Gen. John Bell Hood

Gen. John Schofield

Gen. Patrick Cleburne

Capt. Tod Carter

Gen. George Thomas

Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Pvt. Sam Watkins

States Rights Gist

Key Issues and Locations

The Spring Hill Affair

The Battle of Franklin

Carrie Mcgavock and the reinterment of the Confederate Dead

Carnton Plantation

Rippavilla Plantation

The Battle of Nashville

Shy’s Hill

Fort Negley


The Battle of Franklin: When the Devil Had Full Possession of the Earth by Jim Knight

For Cause and Country: A Study of the Affair At Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin by Eric Jacobson

Shrouds Of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville by Winston Groom

Stonewall Of the West: Patrick Cleburne and the Civil War by Craig Symonds

“Co. Aytch” First Tennessee Regiment by Sam Watkins

John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General by Stephen Hood


Resources on LandmarkEvents.org

  1. Carrie McGavock — An American Heroine
  2. Personal Portraits of Franklin: Private Tod Carter
  3. Personal Portraits of Franklin: General Patrick Cleburne
  4. Personal Portraits of Franklin: General John Bell Hood
  5. Personal Portraits of Franklin: General John McAllister Schofield
  6. Personal Portraits of Franklin: Lieutenant Arthur MacArthur
  7. Personal Portraits of Franklin: Corporal Sam Watkins

Upcoming Events

Grand Canyon Expedition
Sept 3-7, 2024

Spirit of the West Tour
September 23-27, 2024

Virginia Historic Triangle Tour
October 18-19, 2024