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Unknown Soldier from

The Franklin Battlefield


Updated August 1, 2009


FRANKLIN— The team of archeologists and the forensic anthropologist who studied the human remains found on the Franklin battlefield have concluded that this was a Civil War soldier who died as a casualty of action at Franklin.  Nine Union buttons found in the grave led them to state that this was probably a Federal soldier. He was a white male between the ages of 18 and 30.  A bullet was found with the remains, but because of the damage done to the skeleton at the time of discovery, it was not possible to determine that this was the cause of death.


Three theories have been advanced about how this soldier died.  The first is that he was part of the advance line pursuing Hood’s Confederate army on the retreat from Nashville.  The second is that he was wounded when the Confederates overran the Federal forward line and was carried back as a prisoner, where he died.  The third is that he was a Confederate soldier wearing a Union coat, and thus could have been a casualty either of the Battle of Franklin or of the retreat from Nashville.


Because no definitive conclusion can be reached on whether he was a Union or a Confederate soldier, he will be buried in Franklin’s Historic Rest Haven Cemetery as an “Unknown Soldier from the Franklin Battlefield.”  A funeral at St. Paul’s Church and procession to Historic Rest Haven Cemetery is scheduled for October 10.  Both Confederate and Union reenactors are invited to take part in this historic event. Any re-enactment unit that wishes to participate should contact Robert Huff at (615) 500-8211, or via email at


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