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Tennessee History Tour!

The Civil War in the West Tour

The Franklin and Nashville battlefield sites never cease to imprint on our imaginations feelings of horror and loss. They also demonstrate to us the very essence of heroism and sacrifice that the generation of the 1860s exhibited with unceasing duty.

We begin our tour at Rippavilla, studying real flesh-and-blood people who grew up in families whose women and younger members carried on at home while their men invested their lives for the cause of independence or in seeking to preserve the old Union. The evolution of a plantation house, the lives of people slave and free, are captured in photos, bricks, beds, tables, kitchens, and dolls. The men of Rippavilla fought in the war and survived to continue life four years later, no doubt changed in ways they could not explain. One family of the slaves continued their building and architectural work and passed it on to succeeding generations, some of whom still fulfill that calling in a large firm in Nashville—with their own name on the marquee.

Mr. Potter Sets the Stage

Hello from Rippavilla Plantation!

We liked everything. We were grateful to be on the tour with a great group of Christians... Landmark Events provides the perfect balance of well-informed, interesting historians providing enlightening lectures with friendly, well-organized leadership. Great experience!” —Carol M.

Winsted Hill gives us the panoramic vista that General John Bell Hood beheld, as his Army of Tennessee hurled itself against the entrenchments around Franklin. The beautiful memorials on the hill belie the devastation that occurred down below, but then our monuments freeze only names, flags, and dates of those heroes, long dead and buried elsewhere. We ponder the mistakes of Spring Hill and the impetuous, if not petulant, Hood as he questioned the manhood of his army and lined them up in magnificent array to cross two miles of open fields under artillery fire. We briefly examine the lives of some of the Confederate generals who died in the battle, all from different states, all beginning their military careers as company commanders and ending their lives along the Franklin Pike and Harpeth River as brigadier or major generals leading from the front.

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On Site of the Confederate Battle Command on Winstead Hill

Sam Turley Describes the Incredible Charge

The war again becomes personal as we learn of the Carter family and their ordeal of surviving the very vortex of the battle around their house and cotton gin. The tragic but heroic story of their son Tod brings to our memory once again that the boys in gray were fighting to protect and liberate their families and homes. Providence grabs our attention as we learn of the Ohioans of Emerson Opdyke refusing to sacrifice themselves in front of the lines, only to find themselves in position to save the Union army after the breakthrough in the Carter yard.

Reviewing the Battle at the Carter House

Outside the Bullet-Riddled Farm Office

Our visit to Carnton never disappoints. A real family, caught up in a nightmare situation, rose to the occasion with love and service to the wounded and the dying. Their life was changed forever as the “widow of the South” kept the burial records of the boys who died, for years to come. The family cemetery became a shrine to the Confederate dead — no longer an anonymous resting place of the fallen.

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Relaxing on Carnton Plantation Porch

Stepping Off Into Battle

Wednesday evening we’ll gather at a local restaurant to enjoy a nice meal, sweet fellowship with one another, and a fascinating message: The Great Revival in the Southern Armies, by Mr. Potter.

Landmark Events made history come alive to our family! Loved the headsets, fellowship, all the venues and appreciated the ability to picnic each day. Thank you!” —Sarah M.

Atop Shy’s Hill —
Breakthrough Point of the Battle

General Potter’s New Recruits!

The Battlefield of Nashville is mostly buried under urban sprawl. Shy’s Hill has recently been preserved. Though a small area, it is significant in the Confederate line and quietly austere. You will learn about Col. Shy and his gallant defense and death there. Our next stop includes the well-preserved, though unused in battle, Fort Negley, a powerful example of the art of fortification; the position commanded the approaches to Nashville, a city today no longer in need of defense from external attack. We will discuss the earlier campaign of Fort Donelson and the strategic importance of the Tennessee Capitol, a place whose defensive posture could have resisted an attack by ten times the forces of General Hood.

Tennessee Capitol Building

Sam Davis — Boy Hero of Tennessee

Our final stop at the Capitol grounds gives opportunity to briefly examine the importance of various Tennessee luminaries like Presidents Andrew Jackson, James Polk, and Andrew Johnson. As the Volunteer State, the irony of Sgt. York and his memorial reminded us that some men of valor were coerced into service and still represented the finest in the fighting tradition of Tennessee. After all, the old saying was, don’t tell a Tennessean what the fight is about, just tell him where it is!

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