Big response for state archivists
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Mar 12, 2014 | 655 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Team at museum is documenting Civil War memorabilia
THIS COPY of “The Battle Flag” was published March 30, 1864. Dr. Anthony Hodges said the newspaper is very rare. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
view slideshow (3 images)
A steady stream of history buffs turned out Tuesday for the first of a two-day visit to Cleveland by a team of Tennessee State Library Archives and Tennessee State Museum representatives.

The Museum Center at Five Points is hosting the unique event in which area residents are sharing Civil War history and personal artifacts from the War Between the States.

The materials are being digitally documented.

Anyone who owns Civil War memorabilia was being encouraged to drop by the museum today during the second leg of the state historians’ visit. The team was scheduled to be on-site at the museum today until early afternoon.

Archivists are searching for original photos, documents and other artifacts associated with the Civil War.

An exhibit titled, “Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee,” is being planned.

While working Tuesday, archivists were introduced to a piece of Cleveland Daily Banner history as well.

Dr. Anthony Hodges of Chattanooga recently retired. Hodges is an avid Civil War buff and historian.

“This is an original publication of “The Battle Flag,” Hodges explained.

According to historical accounts published in “The History of Bradley County” by the History Committee, Bradley County Chapter of East Tennessee Historical Society, “The Banner publication was suspended in the fall of 1863 after federal troops took control of the area. For about six months, Cleveland was without a newspaper. In March 1864, four soldiers began the publication of the weekly “Battle Flag,” which served temporarily as the town’s fifth newspaper,” and was published using the Banner’s press.

Hodges’ copy was dated March 30, 1864. He had traded with another Civil War enthusiast for the paper. The man had told him the paper was found in an old home in Chattanooga.

It was in good, but fragile condition.

According to Myers Brown, his team of archivists have scanned or taken digital photos of materials, some of which will be featured in the exhibit. The team has traveled across the state of Tennessee for the project, which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Byron Hendrix said he finds and documents Civil War bullets and other items.

He had a significant find during the weekend that he shared with the archivist.

A trading pipe was among the items.

Brown said the team’s purpose is to collect materials for future generations.

“People can donate their items if they want, but our goal is to document in digital format,” Brown explained.

The project began in 2010, shortly after the kick-off for the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

“We want to make sure that residents in each county have the opportunity to bring materials in for documentation so we can share it with the Sesquicentennial Commission.

Brown said he had been with the project from the beginning.

“It has been a tremendous projects in many respects,” Brown said. In the short term, it will generate the online exhibit, but in the long term, the photos, documents and other items will be archived and protected for the future.”

A great number of artifacts have been hidden away in family collections. Throughout the generations, the artifacts were passed down through families.

“It’s another window of history opened,” Brown said of the sharing of the materials.

The archivists also provided digital copies of the artifacts to those who submitted, so they could preserve originals and still be able to share the history.

Brown said one of his favorite items documented was a simple shoe … or so he thought.

During the documentation and research of the shoe, he learned it was the shoe of a soldier who had lost part of his foot.

“The shoe had been shortened to fit his foot after he had been shot,” Brown said.

An online exhibit of the collected memorabilia will be at the Tennessee 150th Commemorative website at www.tncivilwar150.org.

“This is an important project for TSLA. The Civil War was a major event in our state’s history, so we need to take appropriate steps to make sure these treasures are properly preserved for future generations,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.