Remembering the Past: Civil War-related events highlight Confederate History and Heritage Month

by:  Marie Nesmith     The Daily Tribune  News

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Civil War Events

Re-enactors Steve Boliver, from left, Joe Carver, Dale Black, Charlie Jackson, Gary Turner, Allen Black and Timothy Bryson perform a rifle salute during the Cassville Confederate Memorial Service. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File view slideshow (3 images)

In the midst of Confederate History and  Heritage Month, a bevy of Civil War-related events are taking shape across the  county. Referred to as living history offerings, the programs will help  attendees discover what life was like about 150 years ago, when more than 90,000  Union troops marched into Bartow.
“The Civil War touched Bartow County in  a number of ways,” said Trey Gaines, director of the Bartow History Museum, 4 E.  Church St. in Cartersville. “One, obviously a lot of families were affected as  far as family members going off and being soldiers in the war. We were also  impacted when troops began moving through Bartow County later in the war. There  was a battle at Allatoona Pass in October of 1864 and then prior to that  thousands and thousands of troops had moved through Bartow County.
“The  Great Locomotive Chase took place in northwest Georgia but much of it occurred  right here in Bartow County. Kingston and Cassville both have connections to the  war. There were hospitals and troop movements through both of those areas.  Cassville was the county seat during the war and prior to the war of the then  Cass County. Cassville was destroyed during the war and was not able to rebuild  and Cartersville was voted to be the county seat shortly after the  war.”
The Civil War Comes to Kingston
On April 20 from 9 a.m. to 4  p.m., the Kingston Woman’s History Club Inc. will highlight the Civil War’s  impact on their town with The Civil War Comes to Kingston event. Along with  Confederate and Union re-enactor demonstrations, the free offering also will  feature concerts, cannon demonstrations and presentations from seven local  historians: Bob Crowe, Clent Coker, D.J. Gould, Louise Young-Harris, Joe Head,  Robert Jones and Gaines.
Known for coining the term “Heart of the Chase,” Head’s address will focus on Bartow’s role in the Great Locomotive  Chase.
During the Chase, civilian spy James Andrews and his Union  accomplices tried to disrupt a key supply line of the Confederacy on April 12,  1862. After stealing the General locomotive in Cobb County, they planned to  destroy the Western & Atlantic Railroad’s tracks and telegraph lines en  route to Chattanooga, Tenn. Their plan was spoiled, however, when a southbound  freight train pulled by the Texas locomotive decided to help pursue the General,  traveling in reverse from south of Adairsville to catch Andrews north of  Ringgold.
“I will go ahead and talk about the story from A to Z — the  hijacking of the General in Kennesaw or Big Shanty and then its eventual mission  failure, which ended just north of Ringgold,” said Head, who also is a member of  the Etowah Valley Historical Society. “But I will do more of my discussion about  the events in Bartow County because the event itself primarily unfolded mostly  in Bartow County. The event had more activity, stops, if you will, encounters  [and] distance [in this county, and] all of the Chase engines for instance that  pursued the General were acquired in Bartow County. So I’m going to go into some  depth about our role and why we should be as proud or if not prouder than even  Cobb County.
“The embedded story I’m going to tell is going to be that of  … Uriah Stephens [who] was working as a station agent in Kingston. … [He]  knew the operation of the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad and when  the Raiders arrived in Kingston, he was immediately suspicious of their story  and the manner in which they arrived and what they were insisting upon. And he  challenged them. So I’m going to tell his story. So I’ve got a story within a  story, and the beauty of it is I’m going to be able to really showcase why  Bartow is the ‘Heart of the Chase.’”
For more information about The Civil  War Comes to Kingston, call Nettie Holt at 770-386-0146.
Civil War Comes  Alive!
Like the Kingston event, Civil War Comes Alive! will provide  insight into this time period through re-enactors, demonstrations and musical  performances. Presented by the Bartow History Museum and the Booth Western Art  Museum, the event will be held April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This is  our third year to hold the event and really it’s just an opportunity for us to  look back 150 years ago at the events of the Civil War and what led to it, what  some of the causes of it [were] but also what it was like to live in the time  period both on the home front and the battlefront,” Gaines said. “So you get to  experience both sides of the war.
“[I hope people will gain] an  appreciation for the events of the time [and] the people who lived during the  war and what they experienced. [For example] if you were a soldier, what that  was like to be away from family while fighting in the war but then also back  here at home, what it was like to make do or live without lots of your family  members around and experience soldiers or armies marching through your town,  your home. … [This] is definitely a family event. It’s a great opportunity for  kids to come out and really learn more about the war by witnessing [the  demonstrations] and experiencing some of the things — you hear about it and read  about it in school and this is an opportunity for you to experience some of  it.”
Along with touring the Cartersville museums, patrons will be able to  listen to Civil War music, talk with re-enactors portraying Union and  Confederate soldiers, and examine art and artifacts of the time period. Cannon  firing demonstrations will occur at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30  p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the Booth’s festival grounds, 501  Museum Drive in Cartersville. The event also will feature a Bull Run/Manassas  presentation by actor Kathy Kaemmerlen at 10:30 a.m., a delivery of the  Gettysburg Address at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m, performances by the 8th Regiment  Band at noon and 2:30 p.m., and the recitation of letters penned by members of  the U.S. Colored Troops at 1:30 p.m.
Admission to the event will be $10  for adults, $8 for senior individuals, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and  younger, and free for Booth members, Bartow History Museum members and active  military personnel with identification. Along with entrance into Civil War Comes  Alive!, the admission fees will gain visitors access into both  museums.
For more information about Civil War Comes Alive!, call  770-387-1300 or visit or
Increased Tourism
Since April 2011,  which marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, Regina  Wheeler — deputy director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention &  Visitors Bureau — said she is continuing to see a renewed interest in Bartow’s  Civil War-related sites and offerings.
According to the Bartow History  Museum’s data, “By May 1864, more than 90,000 Federal troops had passed through  Bartow County. While many local refugees fled, others remained to witness the  occupation of Kingston by Gen. William T. Sherman and his men. It was from here  in November 1864 that Sherman made preparations for his ‘March to the Sea.’ That  same month, orders were given to destroy Cassville.”
From the trenches at  the Allatoona Pass Battlefield to Confederate gravesites and inscriptions left  in residences from a once-occupying Union force, reminders of the Civil War are  throughout Bartow County. Along with artifacts and structures that date back to  the 1800s, the war’s aftereffects still can be seen in the area’s landscape and  the birth of Cartersville’s prominence after becoming the county’s  seat.
“Heritage tourism is something that while it may be a new buzz word  for many communities, it’s been something that has long brought people here to  Bartow County to visit attractions not only related to the Civil War but also to  our rich Native American history that we have here as well as many other facets  of our history and shaping of Georgia and also the U.S.,” Wheeler said. “Bartow  County has a very unique standing within the Civil War.
“[We had] early  on actions, such as the Great Locomotive Chase, which celebrated its  sesquicentennial or 150th anniversary last year, that took place but also other  skirmishes, battles. Then more activity began as we approached 1864 and then  even our county was vital to reconstruction as well. The last surrender east of  the Mississippi took place in Kingston. And then in reconstruction efforts — having the rail lines through our community was very important to getting goods  in and out and kind of the rebuilding effort of the South.”
To help  promote Civil War-related events, the CVB’s website,, will continually post local happenings, such as Red  Top Mountain State Park’s Spring at the Homestead on April 27 and 28; and three  events honoring Confederate Memorial Day: Gen. P.M.B. Young Chapter of the  United Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter No. 2373’s observance at the Stiles  Auditorium in Cartersville April 20 at 11 a.m.; Stiles-Akin Camp No. 670 Sons of  Confederate Veterans’ service at Cassville Confederate Cemetery April 27 at 9  a.m.; and the 149th Annual Kingston Confederate Memorial Day Service at Kingston  Baptist Church April 28 at 2:30 p.m.
“[Due to the Civil War’s  sesquicentennial] we expect to see increased visitation over the next several  years,” Wheeler said. “It just maybe brings people that haven’t thought to visit  their ancestors, where their ancestors’ fought or where those battles took  place. It kind of brings them out. In terms of what people see when they get  [here], it could be as simple as tracking down all of the state historic sites,  all of the state historic markers, if you will. …
“There are various  events throughout the year [at Allatoona Pass] that people can go enjoy and  actually have a guided tour, things like that. But then with other attractions,  such as the Booth museum’s War is Hell Gallery, that really brings it to life  for a lot of people. Of course, they’re hosting events here in the month of  April. And then there will be tours and other things throughout the year that  take place from Adairsville all the way to Emerson and beyond. There are plenty  of attractions related specifically to the Civil War that will bring you a  renewed interest and a renewed appreciation of the Civil War, which really  changed the shape of America.”


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