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Bradley County - Cleveland and Charleston
Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Events

Event #1
Monday, April 25, 2011, Noon, Courthouse Plaza 

April 25, 1861 - Unionists Erect Liberty Pole at Courthouse
Immediately after the fall of Ft. Sumter, April 12-13, 1861, Union supporters in Cleveland raised a 90 ft. hickory pole in the courthouse yard and hoisted a handmade 33-star American flag presented by Sally Shields. The effort was funded by William Cate. In the summer, when Confederate soldiers moved through the area toward Virginia on the train, soldiers shot at the flag from the tracks. A Louisiana (or Mississippi) regiment passing through Cleveland demanded the flag come down. After negotiations between Unionists and Confederate authorities, the pole was taken down in July 1861. However, the same flag was raised again over the city on February 10, 1864 after Union troops occupied Cleveland.

Event #2
Saturday, June 11, 2011, 2 p.m.

Rededication of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Monument on its 100th Anniversary. The monument is located at the split of Robert E. Lee Highway and Broad Street. The rededication will take place in the green space adjacent to the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library. The Tennessee UDC president will be a special guest speaker and UDC members and others will be at the event in period dress.

Event #3
Sunday, July 24, 2011, 7 p.m., Courthouse Plaza 

July 24, 1861 - Confederate Supporters Illuminate the Town
To celebrate a Confederate victory at Bull Run (July 21, 1861), Confederate supporters lit their businesses and homes with lanterns the night of Wednesday, July 24, 1861. A list of the properties that participated is found in Hurlbert's History of the Rebellion in Bradley County and a map in Murray's Bradley Divided shows each location. A few Confederate supporters spoke at the courthouse that evening, where a bonfire was set. The flag on the liberty pole came down around this time.

Event #4
a) Friday, November 4, 2011 - Living History in Charleston
b) Saturday, November 5, 2011 - Bridge Burning in Charleston
c) Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Lantern Cemetery Tour at Ft. Hill

November-December 1861 - Terror Strikes Bradley County
Union supporters were slated to burn the bridge over the Hiwassee at Charleston as part of a Union army invasion of East Tennessee. Plans were changed and troops were rerouted to Kentucky. Word of the change did not make it to Bradley County and the destruction of the bridge took place as planned. Alfred M. Cate, son of William Cate, set the fire on November 8, 1861 and escaped to Kentucky. Others suspected of knowledge and/or involvement were arrested and sent to Knoxville and later imprisoned in Tuscaloosa, Ala. A petition was drafted by Union men and secreted to leading Confederates who were sympathetic to their release. Thomas Callaway posted $2500 bail and negotiated the release of the entire group.
The group included Thomas L. Cate, Maj. James Bradford, Levi Trewhitt, Esq., Capt. C.D. Champion, Col. Stephen Beard, Samuel Richmond, Dr. John G. Brown, Dr. William Hunt, John T Kincheloe, S.B. Wise, John Boon, Jesse Taylor, Jackson Spurgeon, John Beene, Esq., George Marler, Allen Marler
Others arrested not included in Hurlbert's book: William Low.

~Confederate control of Cleveland/Bradley County---1862-1863~

Event #5
Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ft. Hill Cemetery Tour to Focus on Confederates Only
Bradley County Historical Society Annual Ft. Hill Cemetery Tour. The tour will focus only those associated with the Confederacy since Bradley County in 1862 was dominated by Confederates.

Event #6
April - May 2013 (TBA)

Exhibit at Museum Center at 5ive Points
The Museum will host a special exhibit featuring artifacts, stories and memorabilia of the Civil War in Bradley County--Cleveland and Charleston. Lectures and special programs and activities will be scheduled throughout the exhibit.

Event #7
Friday/Saturday/Sunday, September 27-29, 2013

a) 25-26 September 1863 - Union army first arrival in Bradley County and skirmishes in Cleveland/Charleston (Attack by Nathan Bedford Forrest) Confederates attack Union army for first time in Bradley County/Cleveland September 18.  Union army retreated across the Hiwassee to Riceville. Forrest reached Cleveland on September 25 and advanced to Charleston on morning of 26.  Confederates in Charleston (8,000-15,000 men) attack Union army in Calhoun on September 26 and Union army pursued to Philadelphia, Tennessee.

b) 26-27 November 1863 - Union Raid on Cleveland (Ohio Brigade of Col. Eli Long)
This raid happened after the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Soldiers encamped around the Masonic Female Institute. Army was attacked and forced to retreat back toward Chattanooga via Harrison. Although Union army routed, the raid was viewed as a success (destruction of RR lines, copper mill). After Missionary Ridge the Union army returned and secured occupation of Cleveland and the county.

(Battle of Chickamauga, Sept 19-20---Thursday and Friday, Sept. 19-20, 2013)
(Battle of Lookout Mt. and Missionary Ridge--Nov. 24 and 25 - event Thanksgiving-November 28, 2013)

Event #8
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Annual Ft. Hill Cemetery Tour
Organized by Bradley County Historical Society, this tour will again focus on personalities associated with the Civil War.

Event #9
Friday/Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 13-15, 2013

a) 29 November 1863 and 14 December 1863 - Gen. William T. Sherman visits Sherman in his march to aid Gen. Burnside in Longstreet's siege of Knoxville, stopped to camp his troops in and around Charleston. Sherman stayed at the Henegar House while his troops camped in Walker Valley at the present-day Irwin Home. 

b) 28 December 1863 - Gen. Joseph Wheeler's Attack on Charleston (The Battle of Charleston)

Event #10
Monday, February 10, 2014

10 February 1864 - Liberty Pole Raised Again
The handmade flag with the 90 ft. pole was raised again over the city after Union troops occupied Cleveland. Ceremony held with Union officers Col. William Grose (36th Indiana) and Col. Louis H. Waters (84th Illinois) gave speeches.

Event #11
Friday/Saturday/Sunday, May 2-4, 2014

Winter encampment December-May 1864 and Advance May 2, 1864
An entire Army - tens of thousands of troops - encamped for the winter in southern Bradley County communities. Scouts or other groups can set up community encampments in South Bradley County for a weekend picked out of the time the army was there. The Bradley County Historical Society Tour of Homes is in April and could branch to the south to include properties such as the Blackburn Farm, Flint Springs and/or Blue Springs.

Event #12
Saturday/Sunday, August 16 -17, 2014

17 and 19 August 1864 - Confederates Raid Cleveland and Charleston
Confederate troops commanded by Joseph Wheeler attacked Cleveland and the town was ordered by Col. Horatio Gibson (Second Ohio Heavy Artillery) to evacuate. They fled from the city center to outlying farm homes such as the Keith Hines home (Johnson House) and the Jackson home (Reeder House) at Harrison Pike and Blythewood. (Sunday, August 17, 2014)

Event #13
Sunday, October 26, 2014

Annual Ft. Hill Cemetery Tour
Organized by Bradley County Historical Society, this tour will again focus on personalities associated with the Civil War.

Event #14
Saturday in October 2015 (TBA)

October 1865 - BBQ Picnic Celebrating the Union
Union supporters held a town barbeque to celebrate the return of Union soldiers in the Civil War and survival of United States of America. The event was held at Col. Stephen Beard's farm, a Union commander. The barbeque cost $77.