Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tennessee Historians Search For Civil War Relics

By Blake Farmer
Vermont Public Radio

Bob Duncan hands a weathered three-foot sword to Tennessee archivist Wayne Moore.

Moore handles the weapon with white cotton gloves. "What information do you have about it, Bob?" Moore asks.

"It was captured in Tennessee during the war, taken back home to Wisconsin, hung on the mantle for umpteen years," Duncan says. "A friend of mine bought it from the family. And I went to see him and he said, 'Here, I've got something for you. Let this go back to Tennessee.'"

Moore concludes that the artifact is probably a cavalry saber. It will get photographed from every angle -- including close-ups of its ornate handle, which would have guarded a Confederate soldier's hand.

In downtown Columbia, about an hour south of Nashville, Moore is at the first stop of a multi-year Civil War memorabilia tour. Tennessee archivists are trying to beef up the state's library of Civil War documentation by asking people to dust off their brass buttons, old family photos and handwritten letters that have survived from the 1860s.

State historians plan to hit every county in Tennessee as part of an effort to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

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