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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank

McGavock Gristmill and Sawmill

 
 
Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Stahl
1. Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank Marker
Inscription. During the battle, Confederate forces charged a gristmill and sawmill that stood directly in front of you on the Lewisburg Pike. In antebellum Middle Tennessee, tobacco grew well in the north, while cotton blossomed in the south. Corn, wheat, and timber flourished around Franklin. This local surplus of grains and wood created a great demand for mills, and several were constructed. John McGavock and business partner C.C. Barrett erected their gristmill and sawmill here late in the 1850s to supply the town and countryside with fine flour and sawed lumber.

The mill reflected the modern age as well as the ancient world. Although the machinery ran on belts and gears turned by a steam engine, the foundational device of the Industrial Revolution, a male slave whom McGavock purchased for $2,500 operated the boiler and mill. This high price (twice as expensive as most adult male slave) was due to his rare skills—he was essentially an engineer.

The fates of the buildings and the slave are unknown. John McGavock likely sent the man southward early in the Civil War, as he did with most of his slaves, in an attempt to keep them from running away to freedom as Federal forces approached.
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series.
Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brandon Stahl
2. Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank Marker
This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 54.614′ N, 86° 51.611′ W. Marker is in Franklin, Tennessee, in Williamson County. Marker can be reached from Eastern Flank Circle south of Lewsburg Pike (Business U.S. 431), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1368 Eastern Flank Cir, Franklin TN 37064, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Advancing With Scott's Brigade (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Advancing With Scott's Brigade (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Advancing With Scott's Brigade (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin (approx. mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Franklin, Eastern Flank (approx. mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Franklin.
 
Also see . . .  Eastern Flank Battlefield Park. (Submitted on May 31, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansAgricultureWar, US Civil
 
Union foragers, by Winslow Homer image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
3. Union foragers, by Winslow Homer
Gristmill and Sawmill image. Click for full size.
Williamson County Archives
4. Gristmill and Sawmill
The McGavock gristmill and sawmill may have looked similar to this one. Before the Civil War, Williamson County produced large quantities of grain, livestock, and timber. From the spring of 1862 onward, Union and Confederate armies fighting for control of this area stripped this bounty to supply and feed their ranks.
McGavock Gristmill and Sawmill image. Click for full size.
By Civil War Trust
5. McGavock Gristmill and Sawmill
Located on the Williamson Pike, the McGavock Mill was one of several that served Williamson County
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2017. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 31, 2017, by Brandon Stahl of Fairfax, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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