The Coming of the Civil War

Event Date: 

How many opportunities are there to experience a real piece of history – especially for free? On November 12-13, the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial will kick off the first of its historic signature events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This event is free and open to the public, and you won’t want to miss two days of outstanding living history, excellent speakers, and moving musical performances.

Beginning on Friday at TPAC’s Jackson Hall, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Susan Whitaker will open the event, followed by a heart-stirring performance by the renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, and remarks from Governor Phil Bredesen and James Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Preservation Trust, among many others. Trace Adkins, country star and narrator for Nashville Public Television’s upcoming Civil War documentary series, will also make an appearance.   Both days of the event offer something of interest for everyone. Living history at the Bicentennial Mall includes Confederate and Union encampments, interpreters, music, flag presentations, and sutlers. Attendees can also take a tour of the Civil War exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum which includes holdings of uniforms, battle flags and weapons that are among the best in the nation.   In addition, a training session on how to interpret and organize Civil War artifacts will be held at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Saturday offers panel discussions with renowned Civil War scholars at the downtown War Memorial Building, including Drs. Paul Bergeron, Bobby Lovett, Tim Johnson, Carole Bucy, and Van West. Sessions will examine 1850s politics and the effect of Lincoln’s election on the coming of the war; slavery, abolition, freedom, and the African American experience in Tennessee; how women across the state prepared for war; and the contributions of Tennessee’s brightest and most inept military leaders.

Historian Sam Davis Elliott will discuss the coming of the war and its powerful impact across the nation in Saturday’s keynote address. All panelists return for the closing session “Was Secession Inevitable?” moderated by best-selling author of Widow of the South Robert Hicks. (Authors will also be available for a book signing).

This two-day event is not to be missed! To reserve your seat for the Sesquicentennial Civil War Signature event, please email Vionne Williams at [email protected] or contact Patricia Gray or Lee Curtis with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development at 615-741-2159.   Be on the lookout for future events hosted by the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.


TPAC36° 9' 58.518" N, 86° 46' 49.1484" W
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