Officials look forward to the 2012 tour, the only event listed that year for the five-year Civil War Commemoration plan for Bradley County.
The Lantern Walking tour Sunday drew quite a crowd, according to Bradley County Historian Bryan Reed.
Visitors walked to the gravesites of 11 prominent residents of Bradley County and Cleveland to hear their historical accounts of days gone by. The focus was on how the city of Cleveland and Bradley County not only formed and nurtured through business, but how the Civil War played out in our backyards some 150 years ago.
Dressed in period clothing, each character told the story of their lives.
Thomas H. and Susan Callaway told how they had built what is now known as the Raht House, which stands above the city near the rail system built by Thomas.
“We don’t know why they call it the Raht house. We built it then sold it to Mr. J.R. Raht and moved to Ocoee Street, where your library now stands and occupies our house,” cited Susan Callaway (played by Lisa Lutts).
Raht became one of the richest and most influential men in Tennessee as he developed the Copper mining industry. The Callaways also played a key role in the endeavor as well as setting up banking in Cleveland.
Callaway also helped bail out some of the Union sympathizers and suspects who were involved in the Charleston Railroad Bridge burning.
The city of Charleston, Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee Historical Society presented the commemorative bridge burning and skirmishes this weekend.
Over 1,000 visitors toured the area this weekend, according to Melissa Woody of the Chamber.
Civil War re-enactors camped along the Hiwassee River and provided cannon, musket and other demonstrations to visitors.
According to Woody, the next portion of the 150th anniversary and happenings locally will not be until fall 2012.
Bradley County, much like the state of Tennessee was divided between the Union and Confederacy.
In 1862, the Confederacy reportedly dominated Bradley County.
The Fort Hill Cemetery tour in October 2012 will focus only on those associated with the Confederacy.
“That is the only program we will have in 2012 regarding the Civil War Sesquicentennial,” Woody said.
“It was fairly quiet in Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston until 2013.”
In 2013, a number of Civil War activities will be commemorated. Officials are attempting to hold the commemorations as close to the anniversary dates as possible.
Woody said throughout 2012, stories and updates on what went on during the days leading to both sides occupation of the area would be forthcoming.