Theodrick Carter, Tod to his friends, was born March 24, 1840 in this house built by his father in 1830, Fountain Carter, located in Franklin, Tennessee.
The name “Theodrick” had been in the Carter family since 1676. He was an exceptionally bright child who had an ear for music and was well versed in Greek, Latin, history, poetry and the Classics, skills that allowed him to study the law at a very young age.
By the beginning of the Civil War, he had garnered a reputation as a “brilliant young lawyer,” his practice was located on Third Avenue South, not far from his home.
When the Civil War broke out, Tod, like his brothers, enlisted in the Army of The Confederate States of America. On May 1, 1862, Tod Carter was promoted to the rank of captain and appointed assistant quartermaster. He began writing as a correspondent for the newly created Chattanooga Daily Rebel, under the byline “Mint Julep.” After surviving numerous battles Capt. Carter was captured during the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, just east of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Capt. Carter was transported as a prisoner of war, first to Louisville, Kentucky, then on to Johnson’s Island, a Confederate officer’s prison camp near Sandusky, Ohio. (We were there, see Day 90.) In February, he was being transported to Baltimore, Maryland when he managed to jump from the transport train and escape. He was immediately pursued, but through his cunning he eventually made his way through enemy territory back to Tennessee and his Confederate company, which he rejoined.
On November 30, 1864, the Union forces under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield were retreating to Nashville to join up with other Union forces in Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. The Confederate Army of Tennessee, of which Tod Carter was quartermaster, was deployed to stop them.
Gen. Cox, of the Union Army, believing that the Carter family farm, Tod’s birthplace, and the hill on which the house was located, “was the key to a strong defense,” took command of Fountain Carter’s home at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of the battle. The Battle of Franklin was a 5 hour battle that started that evening at 4 p.m. The Union Army of 27,000 men verses the Confederate Army of 27,000 men.
Although Capt. Carter’s duties as assistant quartermaster exempted him from engaging in battle, he vowed, “No power on earth could keep him out of the fight.” So it would be. At 5 p.m., he mounted his horse, drew his sword, extended his arm and led the charge shouting, “I am almost home! Come with me boys!” Just 525 feet from his home, a volley of nine bullets felled the young captain, mortally wounded, but not dead, he laid on the battle field, along with 10,000 other soldiers, until found by his family just after midnight.
Capt. Carter was carried to his boyhood home and taken inside. Two days later, on December 2, 1864, 24-year old Capt. Tod Carter, the “brilliant young lawyer” died in the room just across from the one where he was born.
54,000 soldiers firing on the battlefield that surrounded Carter’s home left much evidence in the form of bullet holes in all the buildings.
This building, which at the time served as the farm office, was not occupied at the time of the battle.
The bullet holes are most evident from inside the building.