Historian says 10,000 unused Civil War-era bullets may have been ditched on Confederate retreat


Historian says 10,000 unused Civil War-era bullets may have been ditched on Confederate retreat

After the largest collection of Confederate bullets in Middle Tennessee was revealed on Thursday, the Lotz House in Franklin will host a symposium next weekend about the bullets and the forgotten history of the Battles of Franklin.

The minni ball bullets were uncovered in a cast iron pot by famed relic hunter William Henry in 1982 between Mack Hatcher Parkway and the Harpeth River, according to Lotz House historian Thomas Cartwright.

Cartwright was excited as he discussed what he said was something he’d never seen before. “No one knows of any cache of minni balls that large,” he said, not in the area or perhaps even in the state. “That’s incredible to find that many of them.”

“Another component that not many people remember is the battle on December 17,” Cartwright said. The large number of one-ounce lead bullets, unused and dumped in a pot, shows the desperation and rush of Confederate soldiers as they retreated from the federal cavalry after the Battle of Nashville in December of 1864. But Cartwright says this battle is less spoken of than the well-known Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30. “It’s a little known subject, even for students of the war.”

Cartwright said that though Henry found the bullets many years ago, no one knew where until about 2 years ago. After his death, his family came to the Lotz House and donated them to the museum. “The family could have sold these and made a lot of money on them,” Cartwright said. Now, the bullets are displayed in the hallway inside the house.

During a two-part symposium from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, “10,000 Secrets Unearthed” will reveal more about the discovery and the importance of the bullet cache in the historic battleground area.

The symposium will be held at the Nashville-Franklin Elks Lodge #72 located at 485 Oak Meadow Dr. in Franklin. Boxed lunches will be provided from Puckett’s Grocery, and each participant will receive one of the minni bullets from the collection with a certificate of authenticity.

Cost is $50 per person, and reservations can be made by calling Lotz House Community Relations Director Laura Westbrook at 615-790-7190 or emailing laura@lotzhouse.com.

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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