The Tennessee Civil War Preservation Association has come up with a great idea to help promote awareness of pivotal battles that took place in this state.

During the group’s "Two Flags Over Tennessee: Reclaiming Our Civil War Heritage," the 1861 version of the U.S. "Stars and Stripes" and the 1861 Confederate "First National" flag will fly over their respective battle positions. The First National flag — often called the "Stars and Bars" — is a different design from the rebel flag featuring a St. Andrew’s cross, which became controversial after the Ku Klux Klan adopted it as its banner.

First up for the association’s project was the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Henry. From there, the flags move to Fort Donelson, where a key battle of the war was fought along the Cumberland River in 1862. These both provided crucial Union victories and were a part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy for gaining control of Tennessee’s rivers.

And so it will go, as the flags trace the sites of battles across the state. Their journey will be documented through photographs, letters and news articles and preserved in scrapbooks.

It’s hoped that as the flags travel across Tennessee, they will not only spotlight the state’s heritage but will also encourage more preservation of the battlefields. Over the past quarter century, similar preservation efforts have been partaken on behalf of Fort Defiance here in Clarksville.

These sites help people to understand the past and serve as economic engines as visitors come to see a part of the nation’s history and spend money in the local economy while they are here.

Copyright ©2006 The Leaf Chronicle

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