[Masthead] Mostly Cloudy ~ 88°F  
Feels like: 97°F
Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Past springs back to life

Friday, October 5, 2012

(Photo)
Fred Prouty of the Tennessee Historical Commission examines a bayonet brought in to be photographed.
(T-G photo by John I. Carney) [Order this photo]
About 20 local residents brought their Civil War memorabilia to be scanned by the Tennessee State Library and Archives during an event held Wednesday at The Fly Arts Center on South Main Street.

(Photo)
Ron Westphal, left, of the Tennessee State Museum, and Fred Prouty, right, of the Tennessee Historical Commission listen as Times-Gazette staff writer Brian Mosely displays his collection of historic Civil War-era newspapers.
(T-G photo by John I. Carney)
"We were pretty busy," said Jami Awalt of the state archives. "We collected a lot of great things yesterday."

She uses "collected" in a metaphorical sense; no one was actually donating their items, simply providing them for the state to photograph or scan for the benefit of historical research. Each person attending brought between one and six items.

Statewide series

This was the 35th in a series of "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee" events held statewide since April 2010.

Times-Gazette staff writer Brian Mosely, a collector of historic newspapers reporting on the Civil War's Tullahoma Campaign, brought several New York papers from his collection. The staff didn't have scanners large enough to capture the entire front pages, but they scanned nameplates and the battlefield maps the newspapers published tracking the action as it took place in faraway Tennessee.

Several people brought in items collected using metal detectors. A musket made by a British-based firm called Tower of London was brought in, as were minie balls and a Tennessee cavalry stirrup. One woman brought in a saber her husband found in a hollowed-out log while quail hunting.

'Little Boston'

Another attendee brought separate photos of two brothers -- one who joined the Union army, the other who joined the Confederate army -- along with tales of how the Civil War tore the family apart.

(Photo)
James Cook, right, shows newspapers from his collection to a Tennessee archivist during "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee."
(T-G photo by John I. Carney)
Shelbyville, in the early days of the war, had a reputation as "Little Boston" due to a high number of Union sympathizers, so there were no doubt other families in the area who were similarly divided between loyalties to their state and their nation.

Items scanned in during Wednesday's event will eventually be available for viewing at www.TNCivilWar150.org. That site also contains a schedule of upcoming events, so anyone who missed the event here in Shelbyville may have a chance to take their items to a nearby county.

Ron Westphal, left, of the Tennessee State Museum, and Fred Prouty, right, of the Tennessee Historical Commission listen as Times-Gazette staff writer Brian Mosely displays his collection of historic Civil War-era newspapers.