Bradley Civil War events start Monday

Bradley Civil War events start Monday

April 24th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News


• April 25-Noon at the courthouse. Unionists raise Liberty Pole.

• June 11-Rededication of the United Daughters of the Confederacy monument on its 100th anniversary. The rededication will take place in the greenspace next to the Bradley/Cleveland Public Library. Daughters of the Confederacy members will wear period dress. Time not yet announced.

• July 24-7 p.m. Courthouse Plaza. Confederate supporters light their homes and businesses on a Wednesday night to mark a July 21, 1861, Confederate victory at Bull Run in Virginia.

• Nov. 4-5-Living History program and Unionists' bridge burning in Charleston, Tenn.

• Nov. 6-Lantern tour at Fort Hill Cemetery

Source: Bradley Historical and Genealogical Society

CLEVELAND, Tenn.-Over the next four years, Bradley County has scheduled 14 commemorative events for the 150th anniversary of local Civil War episodes.

The first is Monday at noon at the Courthouse Plaza.

On April 23, 1861, when news of the shelling of Fort Sumter in South Carolina reached Cleveland, local Union supporters gathered at the courthouse square to raise a then-33-star, handmade Old Glory.

On Monday, a flag will be raised again at the courthouse. The mayors of Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston will offer greetings. Bryan Reed, president of the Bradley County Historical and Genealogy Society, will set the scene in 1861 and there will be a brief re-enactment.

The last local sesquicentennial event will take place in October 2015.

"Yes, that's after the war," acknowledged Melissa Woody, vice president of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The community came together that day to welcome home the Union soldiers and to mark the survival of the Union."

In fact, the farm where that community barbecue took place 150 years ago may have been located, and the commemorative event may take place there again, she said.

"Bradley County was in a strategic location during the Civil War for the movement of troops," Woody said.

Tennessee has done a thorough job of scheduling and observing 150th anniversary events, she said, and something significant happened in each of the state's 95 counties.

"So we all have a story to tell," Woody said.

Union supporters in 1861 raised the flag on a 90-foot hickory pole in the old courthouse yard, according to Reed. Teenager Myra Inman kept a diary during the war years of her experiences in Cleveland. The diary was edited by the late William Snell in 2000.

"A warm day," she wrote on the day of the flag raising. "Sallie Shields presented the Unionists with a flag today."

During that summer of 1861, Confederate soldiers shot at the flag from the railroad tracks as they moved on to Virginia, Reed said.

Then a Confederate regiment passing through town demanded the flag be taken down.

The same flag was raised again on Feb. 10, 1864, after Union troops occupied the area again.