Carnton
Speciality MuseumsHistoric SitesBattlefields
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Carnton was built around 1826 by Randal McGavock, an early settler in Middle Tennessee. By the time of the Civil War, Carnton was home to John and Carrie McGavock and it was a large working farm. Over forty enslaved people lived and worked at Carnton in the years leading up to the Civil War. On November 30, 1864, the site was witness to the Battle of Franklin. Carnton became the largest field hospital in the area following the terrible battle, and in 1866 the McGavock Confederate Cemetery was established nearby. Today the cemetery holds the remains of nearly 1,500 Southern soldiers. The family and enslaved cemeteries are also on site. Sixty minutes Classic house tours are offered as well as Extended, Slavery, Battlefield, and Behind the Scenes tours.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • TravelMore
    Parker, Colorado148 contributions
    Beautiful home full of history
    We just loved the tour of Carnton Plantation. Our tour guide was so knowledgable and answered all questions from those of us in the tour. The history of this home and the families that lived there is incredible. We learned so much - not only about the family, but also about the Battle of Franklin and the Civil War in this area. The home is just beautiful and has been lovingly restored. It holds reminders of the tragic days of the Civil War and all of those who lost their lives there. Definitely a piece of history that you should go see! Tour the mansion and then make sure to take time to tour the grounds including the beautiful garden and the McGavock cemetery.
    Visited March 2023
    Written March 15, 2023
  • sallyann73
    102 contributions
    Best tour guide ever!
    Carnton is a beautiful house and grounds. Many original items, and lovingly restored to historical accuracy. The story of the family and Carnton's history is fastinating. The docent on the tour was Elizabeth. She truly brought the history to life. She was very knowledgeable and engaging.........no monotone recital here! She welcomed questions and was able to answer them. This was not a job for her it was a passion. She was kind to children and patient and aware of older folks in the group who needed a chair to sit during the tour. By the time I left, I felt a personal connection to the house and occupants as well as the history.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written March 29, 2023
  • CPofMN
    5 contributions
    Highly recommend
    Highly recommend the guided tour at Carnton. Sheila was our guide and she is very knowledgeable and could tell very passionate about the history she was telling us. There is a Cemetery also on the grounds that was interesting to visit. We bought the combo ticket of touring Carter House and Carnton and enjoyed learning about all the history
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 18, 2023
  • Melissa H
    Grand Junction, Colorado91 contributions
    Great Tour Guides!
    We completed the extended tour, which happened to coincide with a another group that was doing the slavery tour. Our guide was Kristie (sp?) and she was absolutely amazing! She was so full of knowledge that I could have stayed for 4 more hours listening to her talk. She was so passionate that it was contagious. I felt the full immersion into the family and home and continued to look up more information following the tour. I highly recommend the extended tour, it was well worth it! I wish they offered a tour of the house in the morning and maybe a lunch and then toured the battlefield after because I loved it so much!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 1, 2023
  • limakate
    Santa Barbara, California13 contributions
    Gorgeous house and grounds, awe inspiring graveyard, excellent tour guide.
    Gorgeous grounds, moving graveyard, and the house is fantastic. Our tour guide, Joseph, brought the history of the family and the Civil War to life for us. What a speaker! What passion! We all loved it.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 16, 2023
  • Texasgal1517
    Waco, Texas57 contributions
    A different perspective on the Battle of Franklin
    Kristie (sp?) Was our tour guide and she did a phenomenal job of walking us through what the McGavock family experienced during the Battle of Franklin. She gave a solid recap of what led to the Battle of Franklin before telling what happened during the Blbattle from the perspective of the McGavock family. Recounting the Battle from a mother and child's perspective reshapes how you view war a little bit. She also took the time to recognize the contributions of enslaved people to Carnton and Williamson County (from the clearings to buildings that have stood 200+ years of Tennesee weather to the roads used today) and the impact the war had on those that survived. In a world determined to erase this era of history, Kristie did a great job of reminding us why we can't. There is much that can be learned from this time if we take the time to stop and learn.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written July 5, 2023
  • Escape50197527309
    1 contribution
    Fantastic guide
    I have toured a lot of historical homes. I love seeing them and hearing about the people who lived there and the things that happened. Today, my family took a tour and our guide was Joseph. He was by far the best tour guide I have ever had for a historical tour. Very impressed and highly recommend!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 12, 2023
  • sirdar54
    6 contributions
    Carnton/ Carter/ Rippa Villa- a must-see!
    I highly recommend seeing these historical civil war sites. My family and I purchased the combination ticket to see the Carnton Plantation, the Carter House and Rippa Villa. Each house is a little different from the others, but each has interesting architecture and furniture from the period. The guides were very well-informed at each location. (At least one had a PhD.) Each guided tour is about an hour. Parking is readily available. We enjoyed learning about the families living in these houses, and the history of this battle and were surprised to learn that there were 10,000 casualties. My one recommendation would be that the guides have a map of the area available. Since we were from out of town, we were not familiar with the terrain, the locations they referenced, the river, the railroad station, etc.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 20, 2023
  • Linda P
    8 contributions
    The house came to life.
    After reading a book about the battle in Franklin, my friend and I wanted to visit Carnton and the surrounding area. We really lucked out the day of our visit as we were the only two people on our tour. Sadly, we don't remember the name of our tour guide. a lovely young woman, who really knew her stuff! She was extremely knowledgeable and open to our many questions. Her love of the house came through ,and her stories of the family, and the part they played during and after the war brought the house to life for us .We would highly recommend this tour to anyone interested in this area and time frame.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 12, 2023
  • Feride Buyuran
    Long Beach, California16 contributions
    A place where history comes alive
    Civil war, the battle of Franklin, times of slavery, one family's destiny - all come alive in one place both during the highly informative guided tour, a quiet walk on the premises and a visit to the family and confederate cemetery nearby. This is a must visit place if you are ever in Franklin. A place to pause and ponder. Give yourself at least 2 hours here.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 14, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

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scott r
Silver Spring, MD701 contributions
Jul 2020
The history makes this visit, though the house itself is impressive (no interior photo rule, grrr... though it's quite popular, so perhaps that would make tours unwieldy - at least in a place like this you can understand). Knowledgeable, communicative tour guide, really elevates the experience. The story of one's house being turned into a field hospital and living (participating) through it all - plus the dedication of the former owners in preserving the memories, cemetery was really striking. It is a destination visit, so tour must keep to schedule and you will certainly not be part of a small group, but it's managed well. Combo ticket with Carter is available and worth adding for full context. The small separate museum does not really add much and could be more developed.
Written July 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lauren_bergen
Bellevue, NE161 contributions
Sep 2020 • Solo
I came for the house but learned so much more about the back story and came away with a greater knowledge of the innocent lives that were so greatly impacted by the civil war. With Will as our guide, he did an excellent job of narrating the history and always leaving an air of suspense on what happened next when we would visit another room and continue the story. I felt at times that I was actually living the moment as he was describing what was going on. From the fear of knowing that cannons were about a mile out, to the home becoming a field hospital with blood stains to this day on the floor, one wonders how a family could ever overcome the shock of what they endured. But endured they did, which shows the resiliency of what the human spirit is made of. The family even made sure that bodies were identified, buried, marked, and the cemetery maintained. There is so much to see and learn here.
Written September 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Napunani
San Antonio, TX3,714 contributions
Dec 2019
We arrived at Carlton House at 145pm for the 2pm guided tour of the main house (first and second floor) that lasted one hour.
November 30, 1864 the Civil War Battle of Franklin occurred across the farm grounds and the house became a Confederate field hospital where hundreds of wounded were brought. The wooden floors are still stained with the blood of those wounded.
Our docent was superb! Very articulate. No question from the group went unanswered.
Along with the house, there are 7 other areas to view/visit.
Unfortunately, our time was limited and we were only able to enjoy the main house tour. We tried to enter the cemetery, but the iron gate was locked. We asked the grounds personnel for access, but they were too busy to unlock the gate. I would surmise you could spend a good hour reading headstones, once access is granted. There is a very nice gift shop where you purchase your tour ticket along with a small historical exhibit.
I would recommend no less than 4 hours on-site to experience it all and to walk through the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park that has nearly a mile of trails and 20 interpretive markers.
Written January 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jennifer R
52 contributions
Oct 2020 • Couples
We are civil war enthusiasts, and were excited to see this place. The grounds were beautiful, and they do a great job taking care of the home. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, educating us on many things regarding the events surrounding this place.
Written October 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

2Travelers2Go
United States704 contributions
Jul 2021
Historic property worth a stop but not worth going out of your way for.

As others have said, you feel like a herd of cattle as one tour group is right on the heels of another. You are hearing loud, off-kilter stereo versions of the guides' information which is very distracting.

I don't understand why the "no inside photos" policy continues to remain at places like this. I can understand why at most solemn places but Carnton tours go out of their way to mention and point out (over and over) the grisley details where the bloodstains are on the floor and herd people through like cattle, so it's not like it's exactly treated like "sacred" space.
Written August 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JKDay
Kansas City, MO55 contributions
Mar 2021
I usually don’t get emotional on a tour but our tour guide was such an incredible and gifted storyteller that it felt like the events happened just a few weeks ago. The moment of silence and respect at the beginning of the tour set the stage for the experience in a powerful way. Our guide was engaging, thoughtful and truly wanted us to understand the complexities of this particular battle and persons involved. I’m so thankful I spent time here on this beautiful land learning about the lives lived and lost here. Please put this on your list of things to experience!
Written March 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karen
Green Bay, WI12 contributions
Jun 2021
This house and grounds is surely a place of reflection as to what went on on this sacred ground. Our tour guide painted a picture of what happened that was so real you felt as if you were right there during the Battle of Franklin. The blood , the fallen
men some as young as 16, you could picture each side coming over the hills toward each other. The house and the family stuck in the middle of it all. But with it all going on around them they turned their home into a field hospital, helping the wounded and
dying. The compassion of Carrie McGavock was a testament to who she was as a woman, mother and wife. The family and confederate cemetery are haunting to walk through. This family and the community came together to bury all 1400 men that lost their lives that day. The family cemetery also has the family slaves buried with them as well, which another testament to the family.
After the tour of home, the cemetery is must walk through to get the fast death that occur on this site.
Written June 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheri D
4 contributions
Apr 2022 • Friends
This was probably the best tour I’ve ever been on. Our tour guide Cheri was awesome. She was very informative and told the history of the family and house in a way that was totally captivating. We’ve been to a couple similar tours in the area, but I would recommend this one over the others.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JenniferandAlan
Easton, PA747 contributions
May 2019
When I read The Widow of the South years ago I never dreamed that I would actually see and tour the house. The McGavock home was used as a field hospital for the Confederates during the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. The tour was great. We were able to see the rooms furnished with period furniture and the painting of the McGavock's departed children. We even saw the bedroom where the surgeries were done and the blood stains on the wood floor. You could imagine the scene. Then the family donated 2 acres for a Confederate cemetery which Carrie, the wife, cared for for many years. You could also visit the cemetery. What a step back in time.
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

cheri975
League City, TX56 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
This is a powerfully moving tour. It's so rich in history and we were just in awe of everything that took place here during the Battle of Franklin. Our tour guide was excellent as he talked throughout the home giving such details of what was happening at the time. It brought such realness as if we were right there. This is a must see.
Written June 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Carnton - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)