Civil War and Reconstruction
Life At Home 4 Life At Home 3 Life At Home 2 Life At Home 01 Life At Home 02

Life At Home

Tennessee was located on the border between Union and Confederate states.  For this reason it was greatly affected by the war both on the battlefield and at home. 

The Carter family of Franklin hid in their basement while the battle of Franklin was fought on their property.

Bullet holes pocket their smokehouse and home which are still standing today.  When they came out, they discovered bodies of dead soldiers and horses in their front yard. 

Tennesseans were sometimes forced out of their homes by troops from both sides or had livestock and vegetables taken to feed the troops. This resulted in food shortages for many people. 

In addition farms were sometimes robbed by roving bands of men.  Large numbers of farms were burned and on many large farms, no one was left to work as the slaves left for Union lines. Women had to take over running their homes and farms while their husbands went to war, and children sometimes had to do adult chores. 

Many aspects of town life such as church and business were stopped due to the lawlessness.  It was not until after the war ended, that local sheriffs were able to get control of the countryside and the fear of lawlessness subsided. Life was anything but normal in Tennessee during the war.

Read about the life of a teenager during the war--Samuel Tillman of Shelbyville in Bedford County.

Picture Credits:
  • Refugee family leaving the war area with their belongings on a cart.  Identified as Tennessee.  Library of Congress
  • A family group at home, Cedar Mountain, Virginia, 1862.  Timothy O’Sullivan, photographer.  Library of Congress
  • Potter House in Atlanta, Georgia.  Photograph was taken after Union General William Sherman* took Atlanta on September 2. 1864. Secondary School Educators
  • House in Fredericksburg, VA, damaged by shelling, December 13, 1862.
  • Photograph of house built by Joseph Greer with  man and four African American children in front of photo.  On the back is inscribed:  “…house built by Joseph Greer about 1781.  Son, Thomas Varree Greer in picture…northwest part of Lincoln County, Tennessee…”  Based on this information, the photograph was probably taken around the time of the Civil War.  Tennessee State Museum Collection, 5.208
  • Print of a drawing of the Sam Davis home by John B. Black, dated 1991.  This is the artist’s version of what the home would have looked like during the Civil War. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 95.86.2
  • Photograph, taken around 1858, of Ashwood, the Maury County home of Leonidus Polk.  Polk later served as a general in the Confederate Army and was killed at Pine Mountain, Georgia, by a shell in June 1864.  77.31.5L   For more information about Polk, go to

   Civil War and Reconstruction >>  Civil War >>  Life At Home >> 

Sponsored by: National Endowment for the Humanities
Website developed and maintained by: The Tennessee State Museum.
Contact us:
Web Design and Hosting by: Icglink

: :