Haunted Place: Carnton Mansion
Carnton Mansion is considered the most haunted house in Tennessee. It is now a museum, run by the Carnton Society. It is open to the public. Open Mon-Sat 9-4, Sun 1-4 Apr-Dec; Mon-Fri 9-4 rest of the year (615) 794-0903
Carnton Mansion is located at 1345 Carnton Lane, in the town of Franklin, Tennessee 37064, which is about 15 miles south of Nashville. It sits on land that was the site of a bloody Civil War battle, where many men were killed without mercy, in a hail of bullets that were like rain.
The Carnton House is a large, two story, 22 room early 1800s brick mansion, that greets the visitor upon arriving with 7 beautiful white columns and a front porch on both stories. A verandah and a closed in porch are located along the backside of the mansion. The inside rooms contain much of the original furnishings in the mansion from 1820 - 1860. All the woodwork is treated to look like mahogany and rosewood. Colors frequently used in the decorum of the mansion were mustard yellow, dark blue and Pompeii red, all colors that were found when archeologists first unearthed Pompeii in the 1800s. The discovery of Pompeii made these colors popular in American decorum of the time.
HIstory OF MANIFESTATIONS:
1) A graveyard where 1700 Confederate soldiers, who had died in the fields near this mansion were hastily buried after this bloody conflict, is located close to Carnton Mansion. After the horrible battle was over, Carnton Mansion became a hospital, where 4 generals died of their wounds, and their bodies laid in state so the men who were lucky enough to survive could show their respect.
2) A young house servant girl was murdered in the kitchen by a jealous field hand in the 1840s, because she rejected him as a suitor.
3) Out of their five offspring, only 2 of the Cantron children made it into adulthood.
1) Two spirits haunt the kitchen area of the mansion, and sometimes move to other parts of the house.
A) A mischievous spirit likes to play tricks on the living, when not doing chores like washing the dishes in the kitchen. Hearing some noises from the small, enclosed porch off the back of the house, the curator went to investigate. She found two old panes of glass, on either side of the back door, which had been taken down from a box of panes, located on a shelf. It is thought that this spirit was the girl who had been murdered.
B) The head of a cook who worked for the family during the Civil War years was seen floating in the hallway, near the kitchen.
C) The cook is often also heard bustling around in the kitchen, doing her various duties, going about her business, letting the living know that she is still there.
2) A beautiful young girl, with long brown hair appeared to a workman on the second floor hall way, inspiring his hasty retreat down the stairs. Workmen now go upstairs in pairs.
3) A soldier's spirit has moved into one of the bedrooms. Perhaps he died there, or close by outside, and decided to move into the mansion and stay there, perhaps not quite ready to leave. A picture of the mansion mysteriously crashed to the floor in this bedroom, and was found on top of the floor heater, a place that it couldn't get to by itself.
4) A ghost of a lady dressed in white haunts the back porch area, sometimes floating into the backyard.
5) Spirits of the fallen are especially active in the Autumn months, at dusk. One general isn't able to rest, because he knew that his men wouldn't hold up too well and is still fretting about the coming battle he knew would be a bloodbath. This spirit, General Pat Cleburne, a man with a mustache, a short beard and piercing eyes, paces the back porch, walks around the outside parameter of the mansion, and on occasion talks to lone persons.
A) A man, Mr. P, who had an ancestor fight in the Franklin battle came at just after 5:00 PM to see Carnton Mansion, but it was closed, so he walked around the place, on a path that led to the back of the mansion, trying to soak up the atmosphere, and thinking about his relative who fought here and survived.
Near the porch, he saw the silhouette of a man that he thought was about to get on a horse, but the horse vanished. Noticing another man on the porch, Mr. P asked him what had happened to the horse. The man explained that the horse was shot from under the other soldier, like his horse had been earlier.
This mysterious man, standing on the porch, dressed like a Civil War Confederate Officer, went on to explain that whether on horse or on foot, they would be at the mercy of the enemy tonight.
Furthermore, if Mr. P was coming with him, P had better have a pistol, or he wouldn't last long. This Civil War officer further predicts in an angry voice that not many men were going to make it through the night, and it was the fault of that fool, Hood, who had ordered his men into this soon to be slaughter. He then hums a line or two of a rallying song.
Mr. P was thinking that this officer must have been part of a Civil War enactment, and must have thought that Mr. P was part of it. Mr. P asks this officer what kind of carbine he was carrying. "It's an Enfield .577. What do you have?"
Mr. P confesses that he doesn't have any, and wouldn't know how to use it. His comment astonished and alarmed the officer, who urgently told him to quickly leave and go to either the Carter house or to town, out of harm's way.
The officer then talks to another spirit by his side. "Well, Govan, if we are to die, let us die like men." The officer then throws his hat up in the air, in an angry, forceful way, and melts into the air.
Mr. P then heard the sequence of the sounds of battle. The officer's voice, yelling "Charge men! Charge." Then a swell of the sound of shots, shells, muskets and cannons fill the air. He heard the music of a regiment band, playing "Annie Laurie." Then he heard a whole army of rebel yells, which were fierce, nerve-jolting cries. Terrified, Mr. P tried to run toward his car, surrounded by the unearthly din of battle, as he felt the cold, creepy feeling of death surrounding him. He found himself stumbling around in the graveyard near the mansion.
The next day, Mr. P went back to Carnton Mansion when it was open, and found out that the officer he had talked to was indeed the much loved Irishman, General Pat Cleburne .
B) Still another officer paces back and forth in heavy boots on the front porch.
The spirits are especially restless at dusk, during the Fall months, when the Battle at Franklin took place.
The cook is usually heard in the kitchen around meal times. Perhaps she doesn't know that she is dead, or feels she has unfinished business in the kitchen. The other spirits let the living know that they are still around, sharing the mansion.