As the years of the Civil War began to wind down 150 years ago, the residents of Cleveland and Charleston were just about as divided as the North and the South, but leaned more toward the Union versus the Confederacy.
On Sunday’s date 150 years ago, cannon and gunfire echoed in Bradley County.
Sunday, cannons will roar once again in commemoration of the Sesquicentennial anniversary of the Civil War as it happened in the area. The event will be held at the former railroad depot, now the home of the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency bus fleet.
Tennessee is the only state designated in its entirety as a Civil War Heritage Area. Something significant to the war happened in all 95 counties of Tennessee.
It has been an ongoing program since its inception in 2011, by the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
Melissa Woody, vice president of the Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been active in researching and instituting the commemorative events marking Bradley County’s involvement in the Civil War.
The Confederate raid on Cleveland and Charleston, whose focus was to control the railroad, will be explained Sunday, according to Woody.
The first event was held at the Bradley County Courthouse and a Union flag was raised on the courthouse pole. Several other events, including encampments, are to precede Sunday’s events.
"The commemoration events and re-enactments over this 150th anniversary have given us a glimpse of life in Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston during wartime,” said Woody.
“Every event we have had has led to fascinating stories about the people in our community’s history,” she added.
The commemoration gets underway at 3 p.m.