FranklinIs Connected



Thomas Cartwright, Jean and Joe Ed Gaddes.

Gift of a handsewn battle flag from a soldier’s wife upon his homecoming 

FRANKLIN, TENN.— The Lotz House recently received a rare Civil War artifact that was a gift to a Civil War soldier from his wife upon his return from battle. James Richard Savage, who was born in Davidson County in 1838 and enlisted in the 11th Tennessee in June of 1861 as a private. Savage survived the bloody war fighting in battles at Stone’s River, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, the retreat from Nashville, Bentonville and would surrender as a sergeant in Greensboro, North Carolina in May 1865.

Upon his return to Tennessee, his wife Mary welcomed her husband home by presenting him with a very special wooden box. On the outside are his initials J-R-S, on the inside left it reads “To My Hero Husband” over a wreath of flowers and on the right-side Mary attached a handsewn battle flag. Because the box has been tightly closed for more than 1OO years, the color of the flag today is as bright and crisp as it was when Savage first received it. It is a loving, heartfelt tribute from a wife to her husband who finally made his way home to her.

Long time Civil War expert Larry Hicklen, who has spent a lifetime studying war, tells us he has never seen anything like this. According to Hicklen, “A memorial created by a loving wife like this is, in this condition, is incredibly and extraordinarily rare.”

Lotz House Executive Director Thomas Cartwright says in many ways the box epitomizes all the Americans who gave everything they had to make it back to their families. “It is one of the most poignant objects given to a soldier returning home from his family I have ever seen. It shows a family respect, honor, and love.” James would die in Nashville in 1916.

Recently, Lotz House Foundation members Jean and Joe Ed Gaddes, the long-time owners of Civil War home ‘White Hall’ in Spring Hill donated this incredible piece of history to the Lotz House. The Gaddes tells us they received the box many years ago from their dear friend and grandson of Savage, Charles Buford Gotto.

This rare donation is on display at the Lotz House to share with visitors.

About the Lotz House:

The Lotz House, which has been on the National Historic Register since 1976, is located in the heart of downtown historic Franklin, Tennessee at “epicenter” of the Battle of Franklin, which was a pivotal battle in the Civil War on November 30, 1864.  The house is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission charged.  The Lotz House is located at 1111 Columbia Avenue.  For more information, call 615-790-7190 or visit