A Civil War home, still standing and open to the public in Franklin, serves as a reminder for what historians call the single-bloodiest day in the War Between the States.
While the battles at Gettysburg, Bull Run and Shiloh are often mentioned during Civil War conversations, the Lotz House keeps the memory of the slaughtered soldiers in the Battle of Franklin alive every day.
Serenity surrounds the magnificent home at the corner of Columbia and Fowlkes streets, but the cannons in the front yard indicate this is no ordinary place.
"You are on Ground Zero of the Battle of Franklin - Nov. 30, 1864 - Ground Zero. The heart and the soul of the Battle of Franklin," JT Thompson said.
The Lotz House is right in the middle of the bloodshed, and the cannonball-charred indentations inside the house mark the day when the Civil War's brutality arrived in Franklin.
More than 10,000 men died in just five hours of fighting in tiny Franklin, which had a population then of just 700.
"It's so difficult for this town to get past that, and that's why most of the battlefield is built upon, because people of Franklin didn't want to remember it," Thompson said. "They just wanted it to go away, be erased off the memory."
But Thompson isn't forgetting. The old house Johan Lotz built in 1858 was recently on the brink of becoming a Mexican restaurant. Instead, Thompson stepped in and bought the place.
Now, with intense passion, he shows it off to visitors who marvel at the relics and Victorian styles that still make the place so unique.
None of it is meant to take sides or re-fight the Civil War; rather the home is on display to honor those 10,000 American lives.
"They speak the same language. They pray to the same God. They laugh the same laughter, and they cry the same tears. And, ultimately, they die so you and me can have this conversation. And that is why they need to be remembered," Thompson said.
The Lotz House works hand-in-hand with the Carter House and Carnton Mansion in telling the story of Franklin's past and the Civil War era.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:08 AM EDT2014-07-23 07:08:02 GMT
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