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.