Thomas Y. Cartwright Interview at the Famous Lotz House

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Thomas Y. Cartwright, expert historian on the Battle of Franklin, at the Lotz House.  This interview compliments my three part series on CSA General John Bell Hood’s 1864 Franklin-Nashville Campaign (click HERE for Part 1 and HERE for Part 2).  Mr. Cartwright recently partnered with the Lotz House and now leads tours of the Franklin battlefield from there.  Prior to his association with the Lotz House, Cartwright was director of the famed Carter House, also in Franklin, Tennessee.  Many of you will know Thomas from his frequent appearances on Civil War documentaries.  He has appeared on the History Channel, A&E, Travel Channel, CNN and the Discovery Channel.  Additionally, Cartwright has spoken to Civil War Round Tables across the United States.  The author of many essays on the Civil War, Mr. Cartwright is currently working on two new books: “Mascots in the Civil War” and “The Battle of Thompson’s Station.”

About the Lotz House:
The Lotz House is one of the few remaining Civil War era homes still standing on the Franklin battlefield.  Built on five acres of land, purchased from Fountain Branch Carter, the house was completed in 1858.  German immigrant Johann Albert Lotz, a carpenter and piano maker by trade, built the majority of the house himself.  The home still bears marks from the sanguinary Battle of Franklin, including an indentation on the gift shop floor from a cannonball that entered through the roof.  J.T. Thompson, the executive director of the Lotz House, has done a superb job filling the home with Civil War memorabilia and period specific furniture.  An expert on antiques, J.T. will greet you at the door with a smile and provide a wonderful tour of the beautiful home.

I highly recommend that you stop by the Lotz House for a tour the next time you are in Franklin.  If time allows, make sure to have Thomas Cartwright lead you on a tour of the historic Franklin battlefield.

I want to thank J.T., and Thomas, for their hospitality during my visit to Franklin on January 6, 2010.  I spent over two hours talking with Thomas in the office of the Lotz House.  The interview is split into 19 parts so you can listen to it at your leasure.  If you prefer to download the entire interview, you may do so by clicking HERE.  The MP3 format is compatible with MP3 players and iPods.  Now, fasten your seatbelts and take a journey with me through John Bell Hood’s 1864 Franklin-Nashville Campaign.  Like me, I am sure you will be messmerized by the many stories that Thomas Cartwright has to tell.

Thomas Y. Cartwright Interview – 19 Parts
Interview Date: January 6, 2010

Total Time: 2 hour 09 minutes 38 seconds

Part 1: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 1
Time: 7:04
Contents: Welcome and introductions | How Thomas became interested in the Civil War | Thomas’ attraction to the “stories” of the Civil War | Storytelling and the Civil War student | Tactical narratives vs. storytelling

Part 2: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 2
Time: 7:57
Contents: History in today’s education system | Mr. Cartwright’s interviews on the History Channel and other documentaries | How Thomas spurred my interest in the forgotten battle: Franklin | Thomas’ narrative on Hood’s movements from Atlanta | The consolidation of the armies

Part 3: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 3
Time: 7:00
Contents: The organization of John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee | Overview of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 1862 West Tennessee Campaign | Battle of Parker’s Crossroads | Bedford Forrest arrives at Florence to join John Bell Hood | Hood’s army invades Tennessee | James H. Wilson’s Federal cavalry engages Forrest’s Cavalry Corps | The Confederate flanking movement towards Spring Hill, Tennessee

Part 4: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 4
Time: 7:50
Contents: The Affair at Spring Hill | Where was James H. Wilson’s cavalry? | The Federal disposition of troops prior to the Affair at Spring Hill | John M. Schofield and John Bell Hood at West Point | Analysis of Hood’s movement towards Spring Hill | Actions at Spring Hill | Cleburne’s movements at Spring Hill – attack by US Colonel Luther Bradley’s brigade | Bate’s Division begins its movement towards the Columbia-Franklin Turnpike

Part 5: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 5
Time: 7:35
Contents: A.P. Stewart’s Corps left behind at Rutherford Creek during the Affair of Spring Hill | The Federal army’s march from Columbia to Spring Hill | The Federal army escapes the Confederate trap at Spring Hill | The Hood conspiracy at Spring Hill – Was he drunk or on laudanum? | The angry Army of Tennessee and Hood’s meeting with his lieutenants at RippaVilla | Hood puts his army in motion towards Franklin | Cleburne and Bate receive Hood’s blame for the debacle at Spring Hill

Part 6: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 6
Time: 6:49
Contents: CSA Major General Patrick R. Cleburne | Cleburne as a logistician and tactician | Overview of Cleburne’s battlefield contributions | Cleburne’s proposal to enlist slaves in the Confederate armies and its costs

Part 7: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 7
Time: 7:35
Contents: The breakdown in communications during the Affair at Spring Hill | The Army of Tennessee arrives at Franklin | Forrest’s troopers and A.P. Stewart’s infantry skirmish with George Wagner’s division at Winstead Hill and Breezy Hill | Frank Cheatham and A.P. Stewart’s Corps arrive at Franklin | Confederate Tennesseans arriving “home” | The Confederate order of battle, and positions, at Franklin | Missouri in the Civil War

Part 8: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 8
Time: 6:01
Contents: John Bell Hood gives his fateful orders to Patrick Cleburne | General Cheatham states it would be suicide for a frontal assault at Franklin | Forrest states he can flank the Federals with one division of infantry and his cavalry | General Govan’s conversation with Cleburne | The Army of Tennessee is deployed in line of battle | Lack of Confederate artillery at Franklin

Part 9: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 9
Time: 7:44
Contents: What the soldiers were thinking prior to the Battle of Franklin | Was General Hood punishing Cleburne or other soldiers for the debacle at Spring Hill? | The Confederate brigades at Franklin

Part 10: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 10
Time: 6:54
Contents: The Federal army | John Schofield did not want a battle at Franklin but US Major General George H. Thomas wanted him to hold the crossing of the Harpeth River | The Confederate Army of Tennessee begins marching towards the Federal works like a “human tidal wave” | The Federal soldiers admire the grand scene | Federal dispositions at Franklin | US Brigadier General George Wagner’s faulty position in advance of the main lines | The Federal advance line crumbles under the advance of CSA Brigadier General Hiram Granbury’s brigade | “All hell breaks loose….”

Part 11: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 11
Time: 7:26
Contents: Hand-to-hand fighting breaks out along the Federal fortifications | US Colonel Emerson Opdycke’s brigade saves the day “bursting out of the ground like demons…” | Individual actions at Franklin | The conditions on the Franklin battlefield | The fighting at Carter’s cotton gin | The fighting at the Carter house and garden | CSA brigadier generals Granbury and Strahl are killed | CSA General Francis Cockrell’s brigade is annihilated | CSA Captain Tod Carter is killed near his home | CSA Brigadier General John Adams is killed | The fighting on the Confederate right flank

Part 12: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 12
Time: 7:09
Contents: “A scene out of the bowels of hell” | The Carter Garden: “The bloodiest two acres of the Civil War” | Brigadier General Patrick R. Cleburne is killed, dying instantly | The cost of the Battle of Franklin | Night fighting at Franklin | Federal stories from Franklin | The disaster on the Sultana takes many Federal soldiers’ lives who participated in the Battle of Franklin | The armies move to Nashville | Preservation activities at Nashville

Part 13: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 13
Time: 7:36
Contents: The Battle of Nashville | The Confederate withdrawal from Nashville | The battles during the Confederate retreat | The Army of Tennessee retreats through Mississippi | The battles of the Carolinas Campaign | Preservation of Tennessee battlefields | The forgotten Battle of Franklin

Part 14: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 14
Time: 5:34
Contents: The battle the Confederacy wanted to forget | The cost in Confederate line officers and general officers at Franklin | The Civil War soldiers’ well deserved legacy | Battlefield preservation groups | The Carter House and death of Captain Tod Carter | Additional soldiers’ stories | Carnton Plantation and the McGavock Confederate Cemetery

Part 15: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 15
Time: 6:52
Contents: The Lotz House and its place in the history of the Battle of Franklin | Matilda Lotz – survivor of Franklin and a budding artist | The Lotz House collection | The Carnton Plantation | The Battle of Franklin: “Pickett’s Charge of the West” | Comparisons between the Confederate charges at Franklin and Pickett’s Charge | Everyone at Franklin was a veteran of the battle | Reminisces of Cleburne’s charge and “the awful” – the battle flag of Cleburne’s Division

Part 16: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 16
Time: 6:55
Contents: Battlefield preservation discussion | Development and preservation can work collaboratively | Identifying the “unknown” Confederate heroes at McGavock Confederate Cemetery | General John Bell Hood’s legacy and the Franklin-Nashville Campaign | Emerson Opdycke’s insubordination and future promotion

Part 17: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 17
Time: 7:23
Contents: Preserving the legacy – Civil War soldiers and their letters | Mr. Cartwright’s future books | Franklin battlefield tours | Visiting Franklin, Tennessee | If John Bell Hood could have a “do over….” | Grading the principal commanders: John M. Schofield

Part 18: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 18
Time:  5:38
Contents: Grading George H. Thomas | Civil War Roundtables helping with preservation | Grading John Bell Hood

Part 19: Thomas Y Cartwright Interview Part 19
Time: 2:36
Contents: Grading John Bell Hood (continued) | Thank you, wrap up and closing

About Michael Noirot

I grew up in the Central Illinois farming community, of Dunlap. Growing up, I played sports, tinkered with cars and enjoyed photography. While I did well in school, I did not become passionate about history until my early 30's. I have built a large library, of books on early America, politics and the Civil War. I am an avid reader. Fortunately, I have had plenty of opportunities to travel, over the years, and have been to most of the Civil War battlefields. I work while I travel, so more often than not, I am up, in the middle of the night, to get sunrise pictures, or I will be out until well after dark, exploring Civil War battlefields. I have other hobbies, and passions, that I really enjoy. Number one on the list would be guitar. I play my guitars on a regular basis, and enjoy the Bluegrass, and Contemporary Christian (CCM) genres. I play a style of guitar, called FLATPICKING, where using a flat pick, you play lead solos, similar to the way a fiddle would have been played during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Laura, my wife, and I also enjoy scuba diving, travel and spending time at our property, in the country. Lastly, we spend as much time with our families, as possible. Thanks for stopping by.
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