oin 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
Tennessee State Museum
Tennessee State Capitol 1
Carnton Plantation 2
The Carter House
Children’s Reenactment Charge
Fort Negley Park 3
Winstead Hill Park 4
- 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 Hampton Inn Spring Hill (dinner cost not covered as part of tour)
Special Treat! Organic Lunch from Local Heritage Reclaimed Farm
We have partnered with our friends the Shough family to provide you a special treat for lunch on Wednesday. We will serve sandwiches made with delicious, locally-grown organic meat from their beautiful Heritage Reclaimed Farm.
After the tour, Bill Potter will speaking at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville March 28-30. Separate registration required. Stop by our booth #TBA and register to win a complimentary registration on a future Landmark Events history tour!
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
Next we will move to Winstead Hill . 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 4
Winstead Hill Monument Overlooking the Town of Franklin 5
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 6
The Most Bullet-Riddled Structures Still Standing from the War
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.
Carnton Plantation, Home of the McGavock Family 2
The McGavock Confederate Cemetery
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 3
Antique Postcard Aerial View of Fort Negley
Tennessee State Capitol and Museum
Tennessee State Capitol 1
Tennessee State Museum
Historian Bill Potter
Historian Bill Potter combines a lifelong study of history with an uncommon ability to captivate audiences of all ages as he traces the providential acts of God throughout the ages. Leading tours of American and European historical sites, he has earned a well-deserved reputation as a gifted communicator, bringing to each event a wealth of experience and knowledge. A seasoned researcher and writer, Mr. Potter possesses a practical knowledge of antiquarian books, documents, and artifacts and has published numerous short books, as well as many articles and book reviews. He and his wife, Leslie, reside in Virginia.
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.
Wednesday, March 27
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.|
4023 Columbia Avenue, Franklin
|2 miles ≈ 5 mins.|
1140 Columbia Avenue, Franklin
|2 miles ≈ 5 mins.|
1345 Eastern Flank Circle, Franklin
|19 miles ≈ 30 mins.|
|5:30pm||Optional fellowship time. BYO food. Location TBA.|
Thursday, March 28
Battle of Nashville
|36 miles ≈ 45 mins. from Gaylord Opryland|
Benton Smith Rd., Nashville, TN 37215
|5 miles ≈ 18 mins.|
1100 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville
|Great lunch options and free parking available at the Nashville Farmer’s Market (900 Rosa Parks Blvd.)|
|2 miles ≈ 12 mins.|
|1:30pm||Tennessee State Museum
1000 Rosa Parks Blvd. (at Jefferson St.) – on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
|Tennessee State Capitol
600 Charlotte Ave, Nashville
|3:00pm||Conclusion of Tour
(Explore museum and capitol inside on your own)
|10 miles ≈ 15 mins. back to Gaylord Opryland|
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)
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
The Battle of Nashville
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
- Carrie McGavock — An American Heroine
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: Private Tod Carter
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: General Patrick Cleburne
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: General John Bell Hood
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: General John McAllister Schofield
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: Lieutenant Arthur MacArthur
- Personal Portraits of Franklin: Corporal Sam Watkins
Image Credits: 1 Tennessee State Capitol; 2 Carnton Plantation; 3 Fort Negley Park; 4 Winstead Hill; 5 Winstead Hill Park; 6 Carter House;