The Tennessee in the Civil War Message Board

Clarksville TN CWRT - November 2023 meeting

The Clarksville Civil War Roundtable announces its November 2023 program and speaker. The meeting is always open to interested members of the public.

The next meeting of the Clarksville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at Fort Defiance Park, our new home, 120 Duncan Street, off New Providence Blvd. Turn onto Walker Street off New Providence Blvd. and then onto Duncan Street. There are site markers on New Providence Blvd above and below the park.

The meeting begins at 7:00 pm and is always open to the public. The Clarksville Civil War Roundtable began in March 2004 and features well known authors and historians as speakers.

Our Speaker and Topic – “The Sarah Kennedy Letters: A Clarksville Woman Looks at Her Civil War”

Clarksville was a prosperous Tennessee town of several thousands people when the Civil War began. With the surrender of Fort Donelson on February 16, 1862, the war was on Clarksville’s front door. The city would surrender when Union Navy gunboats, including the ironclad USS Cairo, showed up on February 19th. The city would remain under Union occupation for the rest of the war save for a brief time between August and September (when Confederate cavalry under Adam Rankin Johnson and Thomas Woodward recaptured the town) and then not again until December.

With this occupation, Clarksville’s civilians remained behind and dealt with occupation. Thankfully, several of them took the time to keep diaries or write letters telling us of what life was like during this time, which was vitally important considering Union occupation shut down both local newspapers. During the occupation, Nannie Haskins, Serepta Jordan, and Sarah Kennedy, lived under Federal occupation. Yet while living within a five-mile radius of each other, the lived experiences of these three Rebel women differed greatly because of their age, class and stage of life. This presentation will give an overview of the three women’s contributions to our understanding of Civil War Clarksville and explore some examples of several themes of their stories.

Our speakers this month are Minoa Uffelman, Professor APSU, Ellen Kanervo, Professor Emeritus APSU, Director of Clarksville Arts and Heritage and Phyllis Smith, Mount Olive Historian, MA History Student APSU. Those of you that heard their earlier programs on their other two books know the depth of their research and the quality of their programs. There’s more to the Civil War than generals and battles and this program will help us understand the third leg of the war; the civilians on the home front, in particular those in occupied areas.

The Kennedy letters book will be for sale at the meeting.