A grand historic house–turned–Civil War field hospital, Carnton is a must-see for history buffs visiting the Nashville area. The house, now a top area attraction, once served as the grounds of the Battle of Franklin, one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War.
Carnton is only accessible with a tour guide, either on a classic 1-hour tour or an extended 90-minute tour. Tour tickets include access to the family cemetery, grounds, and gardens, so you can continue exploring on your own after the tour ends. For additional context, a visit to Carnton is often combined with other nearby attractions such as the Lotz House and the Carter House, either independently or as part of a guided, themed Civil War history tour from Nashville.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Dress for the weather to fully enjoy the outdoor grounds.
- A number of specialty tours on niche Civil War topics are available.
- Only the first floor of the Carnton house is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Carnton is in Franklin, Tennessee, a 40-minute drive from downtown Nashville. There’s no public transit to Carnton, so your best bet is to rent a car or join a guided tour that includes roundtrip transportation from Nashville.
When to Get There
Carnton is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Because much of the attraction is outside, plan your visit for the most temperate part of the day.
Farm Field to Battlefield
Once home to Nashville Mayor Randal McGavock, Carnton was passed to McGavock’s son, John, and stayed in the family for many years, eventually becoming a top-producing farm in Williamson County. In 1864, Carnton became the site of the Battle of Franklin, where nearly 10,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured—all in the span of five hours. Adjacent to Carnton, the McGavock Cemetery, which is free and open to the public, is the final resting place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers.