The recently discovered remains of a Civil War soldier, including a skull, jawbone, arm bone and single tooth, will be reinterred as part of a new unknown soldier monument in the city of Franklin, Tenn.
Ditchdiggers uncovered the remains in early June during a road construction project. They summoned local police, who in turn called officials from the state archaeology division as well as Franklin’s Carnton Plantation—which served as a field hospital following the November 1864 battle there—to examine the artifacts. Based on the location of the remains, Carnton historian Eric Jacobson believes that the soldier may have died during the Union retreat from Nashville in December 1864. Although the remains were found alongside eagle buttons, the evidence is inconclusive as to whether the soldier was Union or Confederate, Carnton officials say.
This fall the remains are to be reinterred in Rest Haven Cemetery, where famed Confederate Captain Todd Carter is buried. (Carter was mortally wounded at the Battle of Franklin only yards away from his family home; he later died there.)
Carnton Executive Director Margie Thessin, a member of the city’s battlefield task force, said at least two sites were considered for the burial and grave marker.
The task force planned to unveil a monument to unknown soldiers during the ceremony.
Thessin says she is happy to give the man a proper burial, and that it does not matter which uniform he wore. “We’re about honoring and remembering soldiers on all sides,” she says.
“When we saw the remains, we realized that some family never knew what happened to their son and brother, and now we’ve found him. It was very moving.”