Franklin battlefield returning through reclamation project - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Franklin battlefield returning through reclamation project

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When many people think about Franklin, TN, good shops and restaurants probably come to mind. But the city has a lot of history, too.

It was the site of a massive Civil War battle in 1864 that left 10,000 people dead in just five hours, and many in the community are working to ensure that piece of history is never forgotten.

Visitors to Franklin will find many Civil War statues and historical markers around town. The only thing missing is the battlefield itself, but that is slowly returning.

First, historians had some heavy lifting to do.

Stacey Watson and the group Franklin's Charge have been leading the charge to bring the battlefield back to life. In order to do that, three homes located on the battlefield will be picked up and moved to other neighborhoods.

The first one was successfully hauled away Thursday night.

"This is the only reclamation project in American that's for a Civil War battle, which means that we're not buying a piece of farmland or open space. We are actively taking it back to the way it was," Watson said.

The idea is to remember the battle and the cannonball without using the wrecking ball. All of it will make way for a seven-acre park called Carter's Hill.

Like Gettysburg and Shiloh, it will be an actual historic site.

"By this fall, there will be an interpretive park here," Watson said. "We'll talk about the battle, talk about pre-war Franklin. And we'll talk about the cotton gin and reconstruction."

Soon, a piece of American history will return.

"It gives us another piece of our story to tell," Watson said.

The battlefield is expected to back and open to the public later this year.

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