Delving into Civil War history in Cleveland
by OUR CITY: Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland
Aug 21, 2014 | 506 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 150th anniversary of a Confederate railroad raid on Cleveland was observed Sunday by a crowd that filled the old Cleveland depot.

Bryan Reed, president of the Bradley County Historical and Genealogical Society, explained that this Cleveland encounter between Union and Confederate forces was part of a larger, unsuccessful Confederate raid through Tennessee attempting to distract General William T. Sherman, who was approaching Atlanta.

The commemorative event ended with the booming of a cannon placed on Fort Hill Cemetery that could be heard across downtown.

Sunday's program included several people who dressed in period uniforms and civilian dresses and read from the writings of those who took part in the raid or were affected by those Cleveland events. The observance was one of many over the past four years marking Civil War events that happened in Cleveland.

Melissa Woody, vice president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, said the final 150th anniversary event will be in October 2015. In October 1865, Cleveland held a city barbecue to mark the end of the war.

But there is one more Civil War-related commemorative event this year. The annual Fort Hill Cemetery walk, on Oct. 20, will feature local actors in period dress standing beside the graves of some local personalities from 150 years ago. They will tell modern visitors how the war affected their lives. Since 2011, the annual Fort Hill walks have featured local Civil War era families.

The renovated depot building where Sunday's event was held was not the Civil War era depot. The building was constructed early in the 20th century and then renovated in recent years to house the city bus service offered by the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency.

There's a lot of history here within “The City With Spirit.”

Join the people who are delving into history. Walk the Oct. 20 event at Fort Hill and learn about those who were here during the war era.

History is part of the legacy of our Cleveland and Bradley County community that keeps so many of our families here, that brings back so very many who relocated due to work-related or other commitments, and in a growing number of cases it is why many retirees are settling in our hometown.

These are people who love our weather, enjoy our growing city with a small-town feel and who appreciate the heritage of the Southeast Tennessee region.

History tells our people’s story, and those of us who are still here to live it are truly blessed.

Let us never forget our history. Let us tell of its charm to all who will listen.