|Gideon Pillow was a mediocre Civil War general, but he lived large at Clifton Place plantation, |
five miles from downtown Columbia, Tenn. (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
- Columbia, the county seat, is the "Mule Capital of the World." (The town is famous for its annual "Mule Day," which began before the Civil War.)
- The difference between chitlins (yuck) and cracklings (double yuck).
Gideon Pillow was a lousy Civil War general — see Exhibit A, Fort Donelson fiasco — but the Confederate commander sure lived the high life on a lavish plantation called “Clifton Place” astride Mount Pleasant Pike, five miles southwest of downtown Columbia. (He also was high on Gideon Pillow — the Mexican War veteran/politician/lawyer/planter/slave owner displayed a full-length painting of himself in his mansion.)
Gideon Pillow's spacious back porch.
In his 1864 memoirs, Winfield Scott -- commanding general of the U.S. Army when the Civil War broke out -- described Pillow as "amiable, and possessed of some acuteness, but the only person I have ever known who was wholly indifferent in the choice between truth and falsehood, honesty and dishonesty; ever as ready to attain an end by the one as the other, and habitually boastful of acts of cleverness at the total sacrifice of moral character."
In other words, "Old Fuss and Feathers" was not a fan.
|Original knocker on mansion|
front door. (Photo: Jack Richards)
|A 1936 view of the mansion's interior (Historic American Buildings Survey, |
Library of Congress | VIEW MORE.)
|The back side of the Greek Revival-style mansion features an impressive porch.|
|Gideon Pillow had a short walk from his mansion to his office.|
|The smokehouse stands behind the mansion.|
|Campbell Ridley holds a wooden slat from which hogs are hung.|
|Salt residue coats the brick floor.|
Behind smokehouse Door No. 1 Ridley showed us a wooden slat used to hoist a dead hog onto a metal rail so it could be gutted. After the hoisting, a bucket was placed below the head for the innards to fall into after after the gutting. Warning: Not intended for viewing by faint-hearted city boy.