Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Events at Shiloh...

I plan to take a few days off from blogging on The Posterity Project this week as Traci and I prepare for our upcoming book signing and lecture at the Tennessee River Museum in support of Traci's book, Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War. The talk is at 3pm on April 3rd, followed by a few days immersed in Civil War history. If you have some time off during the week, I would encourage you to make plans now to witness the many Civil War sesquicentennial events taking place in Hardin County, Tennessee.

Following our book signing at the museum, the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event takes place at Pickwick Landing State Park. The red carpet premier of The Story of Shiloh: “Fiery Trial” takes place on the first night, on Wed. April 4th at 7:00 pm. Traci and I were on hand during the filming of this movie at last year's commemoration ceremonies at Shiloh National Military Park where I snapped this shot of reenactors portraying a scene in the battle. It should be an outstanding film...

The Tennessee State Library and Archives will also be on hand on April 4th from 9am to 2pm, inviting members of the public to bring in their privately owned Civil War documents, photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia for the "Looking Back: The Civil War in Tennessee" digitization project. This is the latest stop in TSLA's tour of all 95 counties in Tennessee in their ongoing search of material for an exhibit commemorating the Civil War's 150th anniversary. In addition to the "Looking Back" project, there will be a teacher's workshop called "Illuminating the Battle," hosted by Middle Tennessee State University's Center for Historic Preservation.

The following day, on Thursday, April 5th, opening ceremonies begin, and a full schedule of lectures and activities take place at Pickwick Landing State Park. Officials from the Civil War Trust, the National Park Service, and the State of Tennessee will gather to announce recent preservation successes at the Shiloh battlefield. Also on the schedule, a forum with historians on the battle of Shiloh, a sesquicentennial Civil War exhibit offering rare artifacts from the battle, and a musical performance by the 52nd Regimental String Band.

Following the signature event, Shiloh National Military Park will host special commemoration activities, including extended tours, and a grand illumination of Shiloh National Battlefield featuring 23,746 luminaries, one for each American soldier killed, wounded or missing at Shiloh.

Of all the Civil War battlefield sites, to me, Shiloh is the most sobering and the most moving. Many of the monuments at Shiloh bring to mind the grim realities of war. Our fellow History Press author, Stacy Reaves has authored a fascinating account of the monuments at Shiloh entitled, "A History & Guide to the Monuments of Shiloh National Park." If you happen to be at the Tennessee River Museum on Tuesday, April 3rd, Stacy Reaves will also be on hand at 2pm just prior to our book signing and lecture to talk about her own book. We hope to see you there!

A marker adjacent to this memorial reads in part: "Shiloh's Confederate Monument combines symbolism with beauty to commemorate the story of the Southern "Lost Cause" in the fields and woods near Shiloh Church... Over eighteen feet high, the monument's central figures depict a "Defeated Victory." In front, the South surrenders the laurel wreath of victory to Death on her right, and Night on her left. Death took away the Confederate commander-in-chief; while Night, having brought on re-enforcements for the Federals, stands waiting to complete the defeat."

If you have not already made plans to attend the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, it's not too late to do so. Although seating is limited, admission is free and open to the public. For anyone with an interest in the Civil War in Tennessee, this event is a must see. Click here for a schedule with further information.

Gordon Belt and Traci Nichols-Belt are a husband and wife team of authors and public historians. Together, they have collaborated on two books. Traci Nichols-Belt is the author of Onward Southern Soldiers: Religion and the Army of Tennessee in the Civil War. Her book explores the significant impact of religion on the Army of Tennessee, C.S.A., on every rank, from generals to chaplains to common soldiers. Gordon Belt is the author of John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Hero, which focuses on the life and legend of Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier. Both books are published by The History Press, an award-winning publisher of local and regional history titles from coast to coast. Gordon and Traci’s writings focus specifically on stories from their home state of Tennessee.