Commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in Murfreesboro by exploring the conflicting emotions of Southerners at the outset of the conflict and the destruction caused by four years of war. As a part of the Sharing Our Past Heritage Month, The Legacy of Stones River program is set for October 18, 2014, in Murfreesboro.
The day's program begins at the First Presbyterian Church, 210 North Spring Street in Murfreesboro. Professor Erskine Clarke, author of By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey, will present American Missionaries in West Africa and the Civil War. The audience will follow the travels of a Southern couple in Africa where the harsh realities of the trans-Atlantic slave trade lead them to become anti-slavery advocates only to be faced with the terrible choice between their newfound values and their homeland during the secession crisis.
Historian Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War, will present Among the Ruins: Charles F. Morse and Civil War Destruction at 10:30 a.m. Charles F. Morse was a twenty-one-year-old architect when he volunteered for the Union army in April, 1861. Over the next four years he fought with the 2nd Massachusetts in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina, encountering (and sometimes bringing about himself) the destruction of cities, houses, forests, and bodies. This talk examines Morse's experiences with wartime destruction and argues that they exemplify the many and varied ways that soldiers understood the ruins of their nation during the American Civil War.
Afternoon sessions will take place at the Stones River National Battlefield, 1563 North Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro. At 1 p.m., hear a ranger talk about Joseph Palmer: A Reluctant Leader. The talk details the struggle of the former mayor of Murfreesboro as he transitioned from an opponent of secession to leading his fellow townspeople into the jaws of death at the Battle of Stones River.
As the programs come to an end at 2:30 p.m., walk through the battlefield and imagine the Battle Scars left behind by the terrible struggle of 81,000 soldiers.
Registration for the programs at the First Presbyterian Church is $10 per person and includes a continental breakfast. You may register and pay online at www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/legacycurrent.htm. You may also register at the Stones River National Battlefield visitor center.
The Legacy of Stones River programs are sponsored by the National Park Service, Eastern National, The Friends of Stones River National Battlefield, Middle Tennessee State University Department of History, the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.