Around 100 people remembered the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin on the steps of the Carnton plantation home on Saturday with a reading of names of casualties and lighting of 10,000 electronic candles throughout the former home.
The crowd huddled under the large covered porch as a thunderstorm rolled in, lightning and thunder cracking in the background as names were read aloud following a speech by Eric A. Jacobson, CEO of The Battle of Franklin Trust.
Jacobson detailed the brutal history of the battle and its mass casualties in 1864 that saw 189 Union soldiers killed, 1,033 wounded, and 1,104 missing or captured, while the Confederacy saw 1,750 killed, 3,800 wounded and 702 missing or captured.
"But then there were the ones who were not casualties. There were the ones who went home with the memories of this. They were civilians like the ones that lived in the Carter House who were forever wounded. They may not have been on a list but they were forever altered none the less," Jacobson said. "I ask you as you walk through tonight as you listen to the names as you looks at the luminaries is to consider what happened here -- consider what happened as a result of the American Civil War and how we close we came to destroying ourselves."
Attendees include and Linda and Bob Stewart who drove nearly eight hours from Coldwater, Michigan, for the 12th year to honor those who died, including Linda Stewarts great, great, great uncle, Sgt. Marquis Lafayette Bryan who fought for the Confederacy, was wounded in the battle and died on Jan. 1, 1865 and is buried at the buried at the Carnton Cemetery.
The Stewarts helped to place the luminaries around the house and have worked to preserve the history and life of Bryan through the collection of letters and participation in living history and reenactments.
"I just find ancestry fascinating. I want to know more about my family and I've always loved history, then Bob teaching it for so many years -- there's a tie there," Linda Stewart said. "The war was fought here and I just think it's important that we remember this, that we learn from it. I'm not sure that we have."