Civil War re-enactment encampment planned at Red Clay State Park
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Apr 27, 2014 | 1059 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Union troops are set to invade the southern portion of Bradley County next week as they prepare their journey north.

By May 2, 1864, the Union Army had already been camped in the Red Clay and Flint Springs areas. Their advancement began that day.

As part of the five-year Civil War Sesquicentennial Commem-oration, an encampment of Union soldiers will be at Red Clay this weekend.

“To commemorate this encampment, we invite scout troops to camp alongside re-enactors on the evening of Friday, May 2 at Red Clay State Historic Area,” said Melissa Woody, vice president of the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Campsites will be set up by re-enactors. Cannon demonstrations will begin Saturday.

According to Woody, re-enactors will interact with guests and explain the era and what happened during that time, as well as display what it took to survive during the days of the Civil War.

All this began happening during the winter 150 years ago.

The 150th anniversary five-year Commemorative began at the Bradley County Courthouse in April 2011.

On April 25, 1861, Unionists erected a Liberty Pole at the Bradley County Courthouse.

This was a few days after the fall of Fort Sumter, April 12-13, 1861, and Union supporters in Cleveland raised a 90 ft. hickory pole in the courthouse yard and hoisted a handmade 33-star American flag.

To date, a number of these events have been re-created as close to the actual time the events occurred 150 years ago. This is a multi-state project and occurences are being commemorated in other cities and towns as well.

Recently state archivist from the Tennessee State Library and Archives and the Tennessee State Museum visited Cleveland to document artifacts and private memorabilia. This goes along with the Sesquicentennial.

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

“It’s another window of history open,” said archivist Myers Brown, regarding the sharing of the materials.

An online exhibit of the collected memorabilia will be at the Tennessee 150th Commemorative website at

During that winter in 2014, troops made their preparation. Tens of thousands of troops – encamped for the winter in southern Bradley County communities.

At the Red Clay Interpretive Center, a continuous showing of “The Civil War in Four Minutes,” an enlightening look at the battles of the war in a condensed version as the casualty count rises with each explosion on the map, according to Woody.

The next big event in commemoration of the Civil War will be held Saturday/Sunday, Aug. 16 -17, 2014, “17 and 19 August 1864 – Confederates raid Cleveland and Charleston.” Confederate troops commanded by Joseph Wheeler attacked Cleveland and the town was ordered by Col. Horatio Gibson (Second Ohio Heavy Artillery) to evacuate. They fled from the city center to outlying farm homes such as the Keith Hines home (Johnson House) and the Jackson home (Reeder House) at Harrison Pike and Blythewood.

Other events are in the planning stages, according to Woody.