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Police believe remains of Civil War soldier found on Columbia Avenue site

Mindy Tate

Franklin Police Detective Chad Pace (left) shows Officer Ryan Howe the jawbowne found on a construction site on Columbia Avenue. Officials believe it most likely belongs to a Civil War-era soldier and with <br /> other items found, he is believed to have been killed not in the Battle of Franklin, but two weeks later in 1864 as Union forces retreated from Nashville.<br />

A construction worker digging a ditch today on a site near Columbia Avenue at Southeast Parkway found what Franklin Police -- and historical experts -- believe to be the remains of a Union soldier, although they believe the person was not killed in the Battle of Franklin.
"The worker was digging a hole when he saw what he thought was human remains," according to Deputy Chief David Rahinsky. "Fortunately, he had the sense to stop digging and call us."
Among the items recovered initially have been part of a skull, a jawbone with teeth, a single tooth, a bone which appears to be an arm bone, as well as several Eagle buttons of varying sizes.
Police called Carnton Plantation and asked for officials from there to come to the site.  Eric Jacobson, historian at Carnton Plantation and a Civil War expert, came quickly, along with Lotz House owner J.T. Thompson.
"(The soldier) may have been killed in the retreat from Nashville on Dec. 17, 1864," Jacobson said, adding the Union forces and Confederates came into contact in that area in a skirmish that carried on down to the West Harpeth area on Columbia.
"It just gives you chills really," said Margie Thessin, interim director at Carnton, which saw use as a hospital following the Battle of Franklin, fought on Nov. 30, 1864. "It really brings the battle home."
Police said they "are not looking at any current criminal activity," related to the discovery, but also have called other state historians to investigate the site, which could lead to further excavation.


Posted on: 5/14/2009


WILLIAMSON HERALD :: 1117 Columbia Avenue :: P.O. Box 681359 :: Franklin, TN 37068
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