Tod Carter, A Civil War Ghost Story – Franklin, Tennessee

The famous Captain Tod Carter had escaped from an old locomotive, he was being transported from a Union Soldier Prison on Johnson’s Island and being brought back home to fight the Battle at Franklin, Tennessee.

Captain Tod Carter, a famous Confederate States Army, had been took prisoner at Missionary Ridge. Captain Carter was one of thousands. Actually, there were more than six thousand Confederate captives that General Ulysses S. Grant sent to the north after the battles surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee. Captain Carter’s long venture into Johnson’s Island was only the start of a sound-bound adventure that led him home to Franklin, Tennessee.

Civil War log hut kitchen
Civil War log hut kitchen


Future Captain Tod Carter joined the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment

Tod had enlisted in the Twentieth Tennessee Regiment, it had been formed by an older brother of his named ‘Moscow’. Colonel Moscow Branch Carter had mailed a letter to his brother Tod from Nashville on March 4, 1864. This letter provided more finite information on Tod’s capture. The letter was addressed to Captain Tod Carter, POW (Prisoner of War), Johnson’s Island, Ohio, Block 8, Mess No. 1.

The letter contained a good description of the Union occupation of Franklin, Tennessee, Moscow also added, “I have a little piece of news you many never have heard before. After your capture, your horse swam the river, and returned to camp in full rig. The boys thought for a long time you were killed, seeing your horse without you.”

However, Tod wasn’t still at the Johnson’s Island Prisoner Camp to read his brother’s letter when it was received. The story within his family is said that Tod had made a daring escape prior to it’s post date, “while crossing the State of Pennsylvania en route to a northern prison.” Tod, riding on a moving train in the pitch black northern night, Tod had pretended to be asleep, with his feet resting on the train window and his head was his seat companion’s lap.

Portrait of Captain Tod Carter
Portrait of Captain Tod Carter

 Tod Brazenly Escapes from the Train

When a guard who had been patrolling the train looked the  other way, Tod’s seating partner pushed him out the train  window! When Tod’s absence became known, the train  conductor stopped the train and a hunt for him scattered  throughout the countryside. Much to Tod’s fortune, a northern  farm couple found Tod and befriended him. Incognito, Tod      moved his way up the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Memphis,  Tennessee. From Memphis and on, Tod continued his trip to  Dalton, Georgia, where his original enlisting party, the  Twentieth Tennessee Regiment still lay encamped.

Almost seven months had passed and on November 28, 1864,  Tod had held onto a paper that was signed by his commanding  officer granting his permission to move ahead of his brigade  and visit his home. Tod’s family was in Franklin, Tennessee,  less than twenty five miles away.

Tod’s father had been waiting for him at home. His father was  known as Fountain Branch Carter, aged 67. Tod’s older brother,  Colonel Moscow, also a prisoner of war was at home as well on  parole. Tod’s family also consisted of his four sisters and his  beloved sister-in-law, nine nieces and nephews all very young. At his family home waited the farm animals and the good meals his servants prepared in the kitchen. As you could guess, he was very happy to be on his way back.

The Union Army at Tod’s Home in Tennessee

Unfortunately Tod’s family weren’t the only ones waiting at his home. Also at his home.. waited the Union Army. There was a Union Army of about twenty thousand men under General John M. Schofield who had marched to join the forces of General George H. Thomas at Nashville. During this trip, these troops encountered the Confederate Army under General John B. Hood and the battle of Franklin, Tennessee took place on the next day, November 30, 1864.

Historic Civil War Marker at Carter House
Historic Civil War Marker at Carter House

General Cox of the Union army had commandeered the Carter House to become a Federal Command post. Tod’s family somehow managed to warn off Captain Carter just as he had stopped at the home’s garden gate. Tod’s soldier duties as an Assistant Quartermaster were non-combatant, but that did not stop Tod from joining the battle. The Northern Soldiers had built breastworks across his father’s farm and had overrun his home. During this time, Tod feared for the safety of the Carter family in the overtaking.

Rosencrantz(Tod’s Horse), mounted by Captain Tod Carter’s steadfast and dashed through the Yankee works, through the guns of the Twentieth Ohio Battery. It was about five o’clock in the evening, Tod was in the lead of the charge in the center of Bate’s Division when Rosencrantz plunged forward, throwing Captain Tod over his head. Captain Tod hit the earth and without further movement. He had been mortally wounded to the head, about five-hundred feet south-west of his home. Right after the time of the midnight hour struck, the soldiers from both Union and Confederacy left the battle field, leaving their dead to rest in battle and the wounded to suffer.

Buildings at Carter House
Buildings at Carter House

Captain Tod is Found by his Family

After the battle the Carter family along with their servants, their neighbors and the Albert Lotz family emerged up from the cellar, all were unharmed and thanking God for their well-being and status. Before the families could finish their prayers in thanking god, a Confederate soldier came with the news that Captain Tod Carter still lay wounded on the battle field. Tod’s family climbed over the breastworks and trenches carrying old gasoline lanterns. It was just before the daybreak when they had found Tod, he was still laying on the cold ground, incoherently calling out a friend Sgt. Cooper’s name. Nearby lay Captain Tod’s horse, Rosencranz, large, grey and beautiful even in death.

Cellar at the Carter House
Cellar at the Carter House


Nathan Morris, Captain of Litter bearers, Mr. Lawrence and Mr. L.M. Bailey of Alabama moved Captain Tod into what was left of the family room, wrecked by war.

The regimental surgeon Dr. Deering Roberts probed for a bullet in Tod’s skull while his young nieces Alice Adelaide McPhail and Lena Carter held over a candle and small lamp. Despite any efforts of his family and Dr. Roberts, Tod Carter still met death on December 2, 1864, at the young age of only twenty four years-old. Tod died in the front sitting room across the hall from the bedroom where he had been born.

Bullet that killed Tod Carter
Bullet that killed Tod Carter



Till this day, there have been stories and legends of the battles of this war. Old artifacts of bullets, knives and shells found from the battlefield only confirm these tales. Some say you can still hear the gunfire in the Tennessee hills where Captain Carter charged upon the Union Army, taking many lives and giving his own. Some stories say you can hear his horse Rosencranz galloping in the woods on the old Carter farm, reliving the battle time and time again.

The White Screamer – White Bluff, TN

There have been quite a few sightings of The White Screamer. Listed below are the few that have been recorded.

Occurence One

There was a man who lived on Taylor Town Road He had gone deer hunting earlier in the day and had killed a nice buck. He had gutted him and had him hanging high from a large tree in the back of his home. The guts had been placed in a wash tub and was sitting out near the woods to be disposed of later.

That night was rather cool and the man was restless; he grabbed his guitar and was sitting out on his front porch strumming quietly. He was known in the area for having some excellent coon dogs. He had them penned up behind his home as well. As he sat quietly playing the guitar, an uneasy feeling came over him. Something was wrong, but he couldn’t place what it was. He stopped playing and just sat listening. He realized there was no sound other than his breathing. The crickets and frogs and all the night creatures had stopped moving. There was dead silence. Suddenly, the dogs came running from around the back of the house. This was strange because he knew they were locked up tight. There was no way they could have gotten out. He laid his guitar down beside him, and started to get up. Upon further inspection he saw that his hunting dogs had their tails tucked under their bodies. They went straight to the opening that leads under the house. He looked in the direction from which they had come and suddenly their appeared the most horrible thing he had ever seen.

The street light illuminated a creature that was nearly as tall as the basketball goal. It had long white stringy hair. No sooner had he seen it than it let out a cry like a baby that grew in intensity. The hair on the back of his neck was standing on end. The scream was now a high pitch. The thing was after his dogs and was headed straight for him. He was frozen in fear. He tried to move but his body was as if he were paralyzed. The white creature was moving toward him slowly at first. Then his greatest fear was realized, the creature stopped and looked straight at him. At this point he knew if he didn’t move this thing would be on him in a matter of seconds.

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The Bell Witch – Adams, TN

In the early 1800s, John Bell moved his family from North Carolina to the Red River bottomland in Robertson County, Tennessee, settling in a community that later became known as Adams. Bell purchased some land and a large log home for his family. The Bells quickly made many friends and gained prominence in the community. John Bell acquired additional land and cleared a number of fields over the next several years.

One day in 1817, John Bell was inspecting his corn field when he encountered a strange-looking animal sitting in the middle of a corn row. Shocked by the appearance of this animal, which had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, Bell shot several times to no avail. The animal vanished. Bell thought nothing more about the incident–at least not until after dinner. That evening, the Bells began hearing “beating” sounds on the outside walls of their house.

These mysterious sounds continued with increased force each night. Bell and his sons often hurried outside to catch the culprit but always returned empty-handed. The noises were soon followed by more problems. The Bell children began waking up frightened and complaining of sounds much like rats gnawing at their bedposts. It wasn’t long until the children began complaining of more terrifying things–having their bed covers pulled and their pillows were tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible force.

As time went on, the Bells began to hear more strange noises. Only this time, they sounded like faint, whispering voices–too weak to understand–but sounded like a feeble old woman crying or singing hymns. The encounters escalated, and the Bells youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing physically brutal encounters with the entity. It relentlessly pulled her hair and slapped her, often leaving visible prints on her face and body for days at a time. The evil disturbances escalated over the next year to the point it was time for John Bell to share his “family trouble” with his closest friend and neighbor, James Johnston.

Johnston and his wife spent the night at the Bell home, where they were subjected to the same terrifying disturbances that the Bells had been. After having his bedcovers repeatedly removed, and being slapped, Johnston sprang out of bed, asking, “I ask you in the name of the Lord God, who are you and what do you want?” There was no response of any type, but the remainder of the night was peaceful.

As word of the Bell disturbances spread throughout the community, so did the entity’s antics. Over time, the its voice strengthened to the point it was loud and understandable. It sang hymns, quoted scripture, carried on intelligent conversation, and once quoted, word-for-word, two sermons that took place at the same time thirteen miles apart. During none of this time did anyone know who or what the entity was, or its purpose for tormenting the Red River Settlement.

Word eventually spread outside the settlement, even as far as Nashville, where one Andrew Jackson became interested.

John Bell, Jr. and Jesse Bell fought under General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, and had developed a good rapport with him. In 1819, Jackson got word of the disturbances at the Bell home and decided to pay a personal visit. Jackson and his entourage, consisting of several men and a large wagon, journeyed from Nashville to the Bell home. As the entourage approached the Bell property, the wagon suddenly stopped. The horses tried pulling but to no avail–the wagon simply would not move.

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