Murfreesboro Rotary Learns About Local Civil War History

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Rotarians looked on in amazement as the cannon fired, the earth shook and smoke filled the air.

The Murfreesboro Rotary Club held its lunch meeting at the Stones River National Battlefield on Tuesday (10/23/2012) to learn about the upcoming sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War. 

To connect to the National Park Service (NPS) website describing this event, check out:

New Superintendent Hazelwood Introduced


As a part of the event, new Superintendent Gayle Hazelwood (left photo) spoke briefly to the local Rotarians. She told WGNS News . . .


Park Chief of Operations Gib Backlund noted that there will be a Civil War Symposium this coming Friday and Saturday (October 26-27, 2012). The historical event takes place at the National Battlefield, the Heritage Center and First Presbyterian Church, both just off the square. The church just celebrated its two-hundredth anniversary and the original structure was dismantled brick by brick by Union troops. 

Park Ranger and Historian Jim Lewis told the Rotarians that the cannons could be heard 90-miles away. As a part of the meeting, Lewis fired the weapon . . .


By the way, Gayle Hazelwood takes over the leadership of the Stones River National Battlefield after 30 years of service. Prior to this position, she was the top ranking Black person in the NPS and was Deputy Regional Director of the Southeast Region. 

Rotarians Learn How To Fire Cannons

Murfreesboro Rotarians also had the opportunity to learn how to fire a cannon. Left photo below shows (L-R) Tony Cimino cleaning the barrel, Park Ranger Jim Lewis shows George Huddleston how to aim the artillery, and John Bratcher checks the explosive. Center photo shows Lee Rennick rushing munitions to Huddleston. Right photo pictures Dr. Alex Hollis pulling the firing pin that ignites the explosive. 

Superintendent Johnson Retires

Stones River Superintendent Stuart Johnson (left photo) retired this week after three decades with the National Park Service, eleven of those here in Murfreesboro.

He told WGNS that he and his wife plan on staying here in Murfreesboro. He wants to finish hiking the Appalachian Trail as well as traveling with his wife. The couple also will do mission work for their church, Belle Aire Baptist. 

More On Sesquicentennial

On April 12, 1861, decades of sectional turmoil focusing on the fate of slavery came to a violent head as Confederate guns bombarded Fort Sumter. For the next four years, armies of Americans clad in blue and gray savaged eachother in a contest that would determine the fate and future course of our nation.

The Battle of Stones River was one of the key moments of the Civil War. The bloody Union victory near Murfreesboro, Tennessee affected thousands of people's lives and changed the military, political, and social course of the war.

You are encouraged to stroll through history in the museum, walk the battlefield and cemetery at the Stones River National Battlefield. The new entrance is on Thompson Lane, across from New Vision Baptist Church.   

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