The Washington Post

Battlefield house basement yields war artifacts

The Lotz House in Franklin, Tenn., at the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, opened a new exhibit Thursday of items recovered from the basement of the stately, clapboard house. It opened as a Civil War museum in 2008.

The two-year dig produced more than 900 artifacts that include military relics such as Minié balls, canister shot, leather fragments from army-issue knapsacks and brass buckles of the type used on a sword belt. The trove also included items most likely from the Lotz family, who built the house in 1858. Those are bottles, glass buttons, unglazed marbles, silverware, fruit jars and broken pieces of china.

The family took shelter in a neighbor’s basement during the battle, and when it ended, emerged to find dead and dying soldiers on their front steps and a large hole in the roof made by a cannon ball. The south wall was gone, having been blasted away.

The Lotzses immediately opened their 12-room house for use as a hospital. Bloodstains are still visible on some of the hardwood floors.

Museum officials said this was the first part of a more extensive archaeological excavation that will resume when sufficient funds are raised.


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