10,000 Civil War-era Confederate bullets donated to the Lotz Hou - WSMV Channel 4

10,000 Civil War-era Confederate bullets donated to the Lotz House

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The bullets were donated to the Lotz House in Franklin. (WSMV) The bullets were donated to the Lotz House in Franklin. (WSMV)
FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

A historian claims there's never been a find quite like this one in Middle Tennessee.

A special donation to the Lotz House in Franklin was unearthed by a relic hunter. That find has a tie to a little-discussed day in Civil War history.

"The Battle of Nashville had just ended Dec. 16, 1864," said Lotz House historian Thomas Y. Cartwright. "The night of Dec. 17, the third Battle of Franklin, or the retreat from Nashville happened. The Confederates are being pursued by the federal cavalry. They were fighting for their lives. Here starts the retreat on the 17th of December.

"Very few remember this retreat from Nashville," Cartwright continued. "The federal cavalry is on the Confederates' rear. It is big time desperation time. They're dumping stuff left and right. Let's lighten up the load to get out of here."

Two years ago, relic hunter William Henry unearthed something north of the Harpeth River, dumped from that retreat. It was 10,000 confederate bullets in a cast iron cooking pot.

Henry passed away earlier this year. His family donated the bullets to the Lotz House.

"Over 10,000 mini balls, and we counted every one of them," Cartwright said. "We had to wash off the gunpowder."

Cartwright points out an unusual coincidence between 10,000 Confederate bullets being found and the fact there were 10,000 casualties during the November 1864 Battle of Franklin.

Cartwright called it an unparalleled find that will help him tell the story of that little known day during the Civil War.

"That's just another component of the Battle of Franklin that will be remembered forever," he said.

A symposium will discuss the importance of the find on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Nashville-Franklin Elks Lodge #72 located at 485 Oak Meadow Dr. in Franklin. It will run from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

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