Building a Future

RippaVilla Plantation, Spring Hill, TN.Maury County Archives.


The Civil War brought uncertainty as social boundaries shifted. Some slaves were forced to accompany Confederate masters to the battle front, while others escaped to Federal lines. The rupture of war also opened new access to the outside world. For many slaves and freedmen, the war and its aftermath ultimately provided the opportunity to parlay skills in building, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving and sewing, boot and saddle-making, carpentry, and other needed industries into professional lives. Many Union soldiers who liked what they had seen in Tennessee returned permanently, seizing upon business opportunities glimpsed during the war.

A website co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University Libraries, Middle Tennessee State University Walker Library, and the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, with generous support from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

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