The Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association (TCWPA) is sponsoring “Two Flags Over Tennessee: Reclaiming Our Civil War Heritage,” a two-year statewide plan to fly two Civil War-era flags: an 1861 version of the U.S. “Stars and Stripes” featuring 34 stars, and the 11-star, 1861 Confederate “First National” flag, known as the “Stars and Bars,” over all of Tennessee’s most significant Civil War battlefields.

The U.S. flag will fly over Union battle positions and the First National flag over Confederate battle positions at as many as 50 sites across Tennessee. The two-year journey crisscrossing the state will be documented in two large scrapbooks collecting and preserving photographs, letters, and news articles from activities and events at each location.

TCWPA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and interpreting Tennessee’s Civil War battlefields for the benefit of present and future generations. "Two Flags Over Tennessee: Reclaiming our Civil War Heritage" will recognize Tennessee’s most important battlefields and emphasize the importance of finding ways to preserve this hallowed ground, where thousands of American soldiers, wearing both blue and gray, gave their lives for the causes in which they fervently believed.

TCWPA Executive Director Mary Ann Peckham announced the flags, which were first flown in February at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River in observance of the 144th anniversary of that battle, will come to Stones River National Battlefield on Dec. 30, 2006 at 1 p.m.. The flags will be carried by Union and Confederate infantry contingents during the 1 p.m. interpretive program. The public is welcome to attend.

Since Fort Henry, the flags have flown at Fort Donelson, Fallen Timbers, on the Memphis Queen Riverboat commemorating the first battle of Memphis on the Mississippi River, at the Parkers Crossroads Battlefield dedication, and at Hoover’s Gap. Peckham and other members of TCWPA will join the National Park Service to commemorate the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Stones River.

The Battle of Stones River was one of the bloodiest and most significant battles in the Western Theater of the Civil War. After three days of intense fighting, nearly one-third of the 81,000 men who fought here became casualties. It was the first step in a campaign that would see the capture of Chattanooga and Atlanta and end in Sherman’s “March to the Sea.”

This program is part of a series of interpretive programs offered at the battlefield during the year. Stones River National Battlefield is located on the Old Nashville Highway, northwest of Murfreesboro. Additional information is available at the visitor center, by calling (615) 893-9501 or at the park website (http://www.nps.gov/stri).

For more information about the TCWPA, send email to contact@tcwpa.org; or write TCWPA, P.O. Box 148535, Nashville, TN 37214-8535.