The fall of 1863 saw shots fired and battles fought in local yards and businesses.
Famous generals were in the area. Gen. William T. Sherman became an overnight guest in Charleston and Gens. Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked Bradley County.
Upcoming events commemorate these historical occurrences as local historians and re-enactors continue to participate in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Living history events are planned for Oct. 4 and 5 at the corner of Ocoee and 8th streets and Nov. 8 and 9 in the Charleston Park. The annual Fort Hill Cemetery tour is set for Sunday, Oct. 27.
Living history events in Charleston and Cleveland will host city and county fifth-graders on each Friday and the public on each Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for demonstrations.
Each of the Friday evenings features a historical talk or panel discussion open to the public at 7 p.m.
The event in Cleveland will take place on the front lawn of the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library and the grassy field next to the Lee University Admissions office.
The evening presentation on Oct. 4 will take place on the porch of the Library’s Jarnigan House at 7 p.m. Bring a chair and listen to a distinguished panel of local Civil War historians and educators including Bryan Reed, associate professor of history and chair of social sciences at Cleveland State Community College and president of the Bradley County History & Genealogy Society with special interest in local history; Andrew Bledsoe, assistant professor of history at Lee University specializing in Civil War and military history; and Neil Greenwood, professor of history at Cleveland State Community College also specializing in Civil War.
The living history agenda for both events includes inspection of encampments, infantry drills, artillery drills, bayonet and musket demonstrations, a cannon demonstration, sewing, crocheting and quilting, washing and ironing clothes and churning butter.
The demonstrations will include some hands-on learning opportunities. Musicians will present period songs throughout the event.
The Friday evening lecture or panel in Charleston will be announced at a later date. Watch for details as they are confirmed.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, the Bradley County Historical & Genealogical Society will host its annual tour of Fort Hill Cemetery as a lantern tour from 4 to 7 p.m. Students from Lee University research interesting citizens buried at Fort Hill and actors dressed in period clothing stand beside the graves and tell about the person’s life in first-person description. This year, the tour will feature local personalities associated with the Civil War.
Admission to this event is $5 and a shuttle will run continuously from parking at the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland.
“Every year, the Fort Hill Cemetery tour remembers interesting citizens who shaped our community in big and small ways,” Reed said Reed. “This cemetery is rich with stories of our community’s past. These stories are brought to life at this event.”
Cleveland and Charleston were pivotal locations in Civil War strategy.
Gen. William T. Sherman spent the night in Charleston’s historic Henegar House on his way to and from Knoxville.
Other Civil War events occurring in Bradley County include battles in Charleston and Cleveland, a bridge burning on the Hiwassee, the illumination of downtown businesses with lanterns in support of a Confederate victory several states away and the encampment of an entire Army.
As the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War is currently being commemorated throughout the affected states, local historians have identified more than a dozen significant events that happened in Bradley County during the Civil War and months beyond.
The slate of commemoration events in Bradley County – Cleveland and Charleston – kicked off in April 2011 with the raising of a 33-star handmade flag on the courthouse square.
For a full slate and description of the Sesquicentennial activities planned in Cleveland and Charleston, visit the “history” section of www.visitclevelandtn. com, the official website for the Convention & Visitors Bureau of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.