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Photographed by Chris Malcolm


Best Historical Comeback


The battle that raged on November 30, 1864, near Franklin, Tennessee, has been described as "the bloodiest hours of the American Civil War." The Confederate army suffered more than 6,000 casualties—and surrendered six months later.


Fast-forward to 2004. On the same Tennessee turf sat a red-roofed brick building. A Civil War memorial? Nope. A Pizza Hut.


Enter the Civil War Preservation Trust, which has reclaimed more than 25,000 acres of battlefields in 18 states, including Mississippi's Champion Hill, the last stepping-stone to the Siege of Vicksburg; the land adjacent to the Gettysburg battlefield, on which a casino-hotel had been planned; and Slaughter Pen Farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where Robert E. Lee famously said, "It is well that war is so terrible—lest we should grow too fond of it." But no Civil War site had been as modernized as Franklin's had.


Step one for the trust: Buy and destroy the Pizza Hut. The town's mayor was among those who took a sledgehammer to it. Step two: Purchase 100 acres of a golf course that had gobbled up another portion of the battlefield. The homeowners who lived along the green were at first opposed but came around. "It was a battlefield before their grandparents were born," says David Fraley of the Carter House, a museum on the site, "and in the end most people respected that."


The effort to save more of the eight-square-mile battlefield is ongoing. But the land already looks much as it did when the Blue and the Gray fought over it. The Pizza Hut is once again open land. Native grasses have replaced the golf course's sand traps. The treasure trove of war relics—like bullets and uniform buckles—unearthed last year is a bonus. "It's exciting to think those things were there all these years," says Fraley, "sitting under a fairway and waiting for us to find them."

Where the Pizza Hut stood was the site of the Carter Family Cotton Gin. It was there the "the Stonewall of the West" Patrick Cleburne was killed. Years ago I was on a tour of the Carter House when a gentleman asked where the Cotton Gin had stood because his great grandfather had fallen there with Cleburne.

I'm glad to see that it has been saved.

A Pizza Hut, just what we need! Thank God cooler heads are prevailing! There's enough of the states that are "CITYFIED", we don't need anymore. Let's hear it for preservationists! :clappin:

Very good job!

Too much has disappeared or been destroyed already, time to make a difference and preserve what we have left.



That was a great 'slice' of American history.. thanks for sharing it! (couldn't resist the terrible pun! :rolleyes:

Pun noted and laughed at.