he 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 began our tour at Rippavilla, reminded once again that we were 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.