Battle of Franklin commemorated at 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event

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The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development rounds up the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, which featured internationally and nationally-known speakers, living history demonstrations, and workshops for history buffs, students, and teachers.

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The Civil War was a watershed moment for our nation and continues to resonate with our citizens as one of the most significant times in our history.

History enthusiasts, students, and teachers made their way to Franklin for the 2014 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event “The Last Campaign in Tennessee” which took place Nov. 13-14 at surrounding Franklin historic sites. The keynote address was given by Irish historian and author Damian Shiels Nov. 14 at The Factory at Franklin.

Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and Dr. Carroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, brought opening remarks. O. Jim Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust participated in the opening ceremonies, along with Williams County Mayor Rogers C. Anderson and City of Franklin Mayor Ken Moore

“The Civil War was a watershed moment for our nation and continues to resonate with our citizens as one of the most significant times in our history,” said Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Tourism commissioner and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. “Tennessee has experienced tremendous traveler response during our Sesquicentennial commemoration. In Franklin this week we had attendees from 24 states and five countries, demonstrating the important, pivotal role the Tennessee battles played in our nation’s history.”

The Official Commemoration was well-attended. Activities included Posting of the Colors for the United States of America and the State of Tennessee by the Tennessee National Guard; and Posting of the Colors for the United States of America and Sons of Confederate Veterans by Company A, 13th United States Colored Troops, and the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans. Music was performed by the New Hope Academy Choir, a Pre-K to 6th grade children’s choir.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s battlegrounds, focusing primarily on Civil War battlefields. They have saved approx. 3,208 acres of historic land in Tennessee, 176 acres in Franklin.

“The trust is one of our most important partners in the multi-million dollar effort to reclaim the Carter Hill Battlefield in Franklin,” said Dr. Carroll Van West, Tennessee State Historian and co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

Educational components through the two-day event included the “Looking Back” Project, which digitized records and artifacts from all 95 counties in Tennessee from the general public. These digitized files are maintained by TSLA and will become part of a virtual archive to be used by the general public as well as K-12 teachers and students.

Teachers had the opportunity to participate in a workshop entitled “Examining Tennessee’s Last Campaign” Nov. 13 which provided strategies for making historical information accessible and relatable to today’s students.

During the Battlefield Living History Program Nov. 14, students learned about medical procedures and Civil War medicine as well as cavalry equipment and a presentation from the United States Colored Troops. “Stories Behind the Stones” was a program telling the stories of some of the nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers who were killed and buried in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, the largest privately-owned military cemetery in the U.S.

The Tennessee State Museum presented a Sesquicentennial Civil War Exhibit which had artifacts related to the Battle of Franklin. The exhibit explored the effects of the battle on local civilians, the commemoration and battlefield presentation.

The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission leads a statewide effort to promote, fund and preserve the complete story of Tennessee’s Civil War and its legacy. Tennessee is the only entire state designated by the U.S. Congress as a Civil War National Heritage area.

The Commission sponsors a series of major signature events. Presenters will discuss the battles, events, and stories of the Civil War, as well as offer brief dramas and musical entertainment during the final Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event April 30-May 2, 2015 in Knoxville, Tenn.

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For more information on Tennessee’s Civil War Sesquicentennial, visit http://www.tncivilwar150.com or download the free, Addy award-winning Tennessee Civil War 150 iPhone app, available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tennessee-civil-war-150/id513064854?mt=8.

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Amanda Stravinsky
@TNTravelNews
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