Clarksville, TN – On Friday, May 15th, 2015, the 14th Tennessee Infantry celebrated their 150th anniversary Homecoming at Fort Defiance Civil War Park. Reenactors of the Confederate 14th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Company B setup camp and held demonstrations from 10:00am until 5:00pm.
Some of the demonstrations held included an infantry demonstration, weapons talk, U.S. Sanitary Commission information, a talk on Confederate flags as well as an artillery demonstration and discussion.A class of Kenwood Elementary School 5th Graders were at Fort Defiance on a field trip to build upon their social studies content they had learned this year. Students were able to take part in the artillery demonstration as well as getting hands on knowledge at the U.S. Sanitary Commission.
“I am portraying the U.S. Sanitary Commission here for the return home of the 14th Tennessee Infantry,” said Melissa Allen. “I am showing the kids how to tear apart all cotton bed sheets to turn them into bandages. After that, we had a bandage rolling race. Then with the bandages they rolled, I showed them how to wrap their own wounds.”
“The students started off their social studies class with the civil war and we ended with World War II,” stated Kenwood Elementary School Kaili Purrington. “So now, their getting to see the things we’ve talked about. We have the reenactors here and the kids have been able to ask them questions and get answers in detail to explain what it was like during the Civil War.”
At the camp, there were things that a soldier may have carried such as dominos, playing cards, pocket bible, shaving kit, shaving powder, tooth powder, writing paper, etc. Most soldiers carried a little sewing kit because you could not form up if you were not in proper uniform. Holes in your uniform was considered improper uniform. The sewing kits nickname was the “Housewife”.
“They were showing their uniforms, what their made of and how they are different from the uniforms today,” stated William Parker, Fort Defiance director. “They showed the equipment soldiers had then and how it differs from equipment today. We have so many people here in Clarksville that have family members in the military and it’s real educational for them to see these thick wool uniforms compared to Army Combat Uniform (ACU) used today.”
Some soldiers carried pipes. They would be giving a twist of tobacco. They would either chew off a portion of it and chew it like chewing tobacco or break off a chunk, break it up and put it in your pipe and smoke it. Cigarettes weren’t around back then.
Most of the 14th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry reenactors are from Maryland, Virgina and Pennsylvania.
“They are a hard core unit. They are very strict on their authenticity,” said Parker. “They represent the company and the regiment very well. We are thrilled they came all this way for the 150th anniversary homecoming celebration.”
Brief History of the 14th Tennessee Infantry
The 14th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was formed with eleven companies in May, 1861 at Camp Duncan, near Clarksville, Tennessee by Colonel William A. Forbes, Lieutenant Colonel Milton Gholson and Major Nathan Brandon. Nearly 1,000 men served in the 14th Tennessee during the Civil War.
Orders came for the regiment to move to Virginia where it joined with the 1st and 7th Tennessee and formed into a brigade under Brig. Gen. Samuel Anderson.
The 14th Tennessee took part in such battles as the Battle of Seven Pines, Battle of Cedar Mountain, Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of the Wilderness, and the Battle of Cold Harbor to name some.
At the Battle of Gettysburg, the regiment lost 15 killed, 37 wounded and 75 missing out of the 220 engaged.
At the end of the war, the 14th Tennessee surrendered 6 officers and 34 men at Appomattox Courthouse.