5901 U.S. Highway 31 W.
Portland, TN 37066Website:
The Lotz house, built as a showcase by German master woodworker Johann Lotz, is a compelling witness to the devastating 1864 Battle of Franklin. The family sheltered safely in the Carter basement, but emerged to find their house had become a bloody mess.
Located in the heart of Franklin, Tennessee, the Lotz house is one of many prewar buildings and is directly across the street from another famous Franklin home: the Carter house. Both homes are compelling witnesses to the devastating November 30, 1864, Battle of Franklin, as their battle scars still show today. German-born master woodworker Johann Albert Lotz immigrated to the United States with his wife and three children sometime before 1855, settling in Franklin, Tennessee. He purchased five acres from Fountain Branch Carter, patriarch of the Carter house, and began building a two-story, Federal style home. After three years of work, most of which he completed himself, the house stood as a testament to Lotz’s woodworking abilities, a showcase for demonstrating his skills to interested clients. Lotz’s most notable woodwork can be seen in the mantles, a solid black, two-story walnut handrail, and the elaborate carvings adorning the house’s exterior. Lotz also worked fabricating pianos and repairing stringed instruments. The stately Lotz house remained relatively untouched by the war until November 30, 1864. Roughly 20,000 Federal troops sneaked by Gen. John Bell Hood and the Army of Tennessee at Spring Hill in the night and poured into Franklin. These men worked through the night, entrenching themselves and preparing for an inevitable fight with Hood. By morning, the Federals had established their main line right 100 yards south of the Lotz house. Fearing for his family, Lotz secured a place for them in the basement of the Carter home. The battle raged for five hours and carried on well into the night. On the morning of December 1, the Lotz family emerged to find the ground between the Carter house and their home so filled with bodies that they “couldn’t take a step without walking on one of them.” The house itself, though standing, had suffered immensely, cannonballs and bullets having torn through its walls and ceilings and blood splattering, pooling, and puddling on walls and floors.
- About 20,000 Federal troops established their main line 100 yards south of the Lotz house
- After the battle, the ground between the Carter and Lotz houses was so filled with bodies that they couldn't take a step without walking on one of them