April 12, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the first shot fired at Fort Sumter—and the official start of the U.S. Civil War. For the next four years (through April 7, 2015), battlefields and historic sites will recognize the sesquicentennial with special activities, displays, and re-enactments. While the entire country was affected by the war, and almost 400 battles took place, we’re highlighting the three states the Natchez Trace Parkway runs through…which holds much of this history.
Mississippi: The Civil War in Mississippi was on land and sea. The Mississippi River being vital to both the Union and the Confederacy, bitter battles were fought to take and keep it. Corinth, Port Gibson, Holly Springs, Iuka, Vicksburg, and other sites became a place for fierce battlegrounds. Some of the war’s most famous fighters struggled on these battlegrounds, including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and John Pemberton.
The socioeconomic consequences of the war have affected generations of Mississippians. On this occasion, the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, we remember those who gave their lives and those whose lives were forever changed, and in doing so, celebrate the strength they contributed to our United States.
Take a look at the Mississippi Civil War 150 Anniversary website to learn more.
Tennessee: Commemorate Tennessee and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Explore its rich history that tells of the division between Tennessee’s Unionists and Confederates that shaped the war experience. The location, river and rail paths, industries and farmlands all combined to make Tennessee a crucial state for either side. More than 1,462 battles, at least one fought in each of our 95 counties, brought destruction to the landscape.
Yet Tennesseans black and white built a new society where slavery was abolished and citizenship was redefined. Congress has designated the state as the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. Tennessee’s landscape contains many powerful reminders of the Civil War from battlefields and monuments in places such as Shiloh and Chattanooga, to the sites along the Civil War Trails stretching from Memphis to the Tri-Cities. See the maps of the time, the flags that led the regiments, and the timeline of events that forever changed the physical, social, and economic face of Tennessee.
Take a look at the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial website to learn more.
Alabama: Becoming Alabama is a statewide partnership for the planning and promotion of commemorative activities to observe the anniversaries of three major periods in Alabama history: the bicentennial of the Creek War and War of 1812, which was pivotal in the formation of the state; the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, which began with decisions made in Montgomery by the fledgling Confederate government; and the ongoing fiftieth anniversaries of major events in the civil rights movement, which had its greatest struggles and achievements in the churches, streets, and parks of Alabama.
The effort offered more than mere efficiency, however. When considered from a broader perspective, the three periods under consideration offered a unified theme for understanding the political, social, and economic forces that shaped—and continue to shape—Alabama.
The Becoming Alabama website is under construction. Check out the Alabama Heritage website to learn more.
The Natchez Trace was used by soldiers during the Civil War, but it played an even greater role during the War of 1812. Stayed tuned for more details on upcoming events on the Trace for the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The first event will be next Memorial Day weekend, September 2-5.
Content provided by: Mississippi Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Alabama Heritage and Becoming Alabama