A key chapter in American, as well as local, history will be played out once again this weekend as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is re-enacted in Charleston. The five-year project began in 2011.
The re-enactment is timely, because the events being replayed occurred 150 years ago this Friday and Saturday.
Life will be portrayed in the Charleston City Park as encampments of soldiers begin their battle of Nov. 8-9, 1863.
In the fall of 1863, shots were fired and battles fought in local yards and businesses. Famous generals were in the area. Union Gen. William T. Sherman became an overnight guest in Charleston at the Henegar House located on Market Street, and Confederate Gens. Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked in Bradley County, according to Melissa Woody, vice president of the Cleveland-Bradley County Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The 150th Sesquicentennial is a statewide effort and is also a multistate venture to remember the happenings of the Civil War in communities where history was made.
It began in Bradley County by raising an American flag bearing 33 stars. That was a few days after the fall of Fort Sumter in coastal South Carolina April 12-13, 1861, and Union supporters in Cleveland raised a 90-foot hickory pole in the Bradley County Courthouse yard, hoisting the handmade flag presented by Sally Shields.
Two years ago, a replica of the flag was raised once again in re-enactment of what went on in Bradley County and the area during the days of the Civil War.
That began the series of the 150th anniversary events which are scheduled to continue as events of that day are brought back through re-enactments.
The effort of raising the 33-star flag was funded by William Cate. In the summer, when Confederate soldiers moved through the area toward Virginia on the train, soldiers shot at the flag from the tracks. A Louisiana (or possibly Mississippi) regiment passing through Cleveland demanded the flag come down. After negotiations between Unionists and Confederate authorities, the pole was taken down in July 1861. However, the same flag was raised again over the city on Feb. 10, 1864, after Union troops occupied Cleveland.
The Civil War Trail winds through the state, as well as Bradley County and Charleston.
Woody said the Civil War was played out in everybody’s yard.
Tennessee developed a website surrounding history as well as some of the planned events which will cover the period.
Also playing out this weekend in Civil War history is the Battle of Rappahannock Station in Remington, Va.
According to organizers, a “Rare Night Assault,” of the Union Army proved devastating to the legions of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The attack occurred Nov. 7, 1863.
To learn more about Bradley County and other events, visit www.civilwar150.org.
The Charleston-Calhoun Hiwassee Heritage Center will also be involved in Charleston’s re-enactment this weekend.
Musicians, lifestyles and demonstrations will be played out by re-enactors.