Tennessee State Seal
New Exhibit Gives Annual Snapshot of Civil War
(Published: June 6, 2011)

A century and a half ago, Tennesseans were divided by something far more important than their college football loyalties or their barbecue preferences: More than 187,000 citizens served in the Confederate Army while about 51,000 fought for the Union Army.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) begins a year-by-year examination of the Civil War in a new exhibit that opened this week. TSLA will chronicle each year of the war in its corresponding 150th anniversary year. The first of the exhibits, which will be available for viewing through early August, will focus on the events leading up to the war and the first year of conflict in 1861. Next year’s exhibit will highlight 1862.

The free exhibit will illustrate the impact of slavery on the Union, the divisive election of 1860, beginnings of southern secession and Tennessee's gradual shift toward becoming a Confederate state. Major military actions in 1861 include the shelling of Fort Sumter,