The American Civil War(1861–1865) was a major war between the United States (the “Union”) and eleven Southern slave states that declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis. The Union, led by President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, opposed the expansion of slavery and rejected any right of secession.
During the first year, the Union asserted control of the border states and established a naval blockade as both sides raised large armies. In 1862 large, bloody battles began, causing massive casualties as a result of new weapons and old battlefield tactics.
In the West, the Union Navy captured the port of New Orleans in 1862, and Ulysses S. Grant seized control of the Mississippi River by capturing Vicksburg, Mississippi in July 1863, thus splitting the Confederacy.
Grant fought a number of bloody battles with Lee in Virginia in the summer of 1864. Lee won most of the battles in a tactical sense but on the whole lost strategically, as he could not replace his casualties and was forced to retreat into trenches around his capital, Richmond, Virginia.
In 1865, the Confederacy collapsed after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House.
The war produced about 970,000 casualties (3% of the population), including approximately 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease. The causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering controversy even today.
Who is the Tenth Tennessee?
Company D, Tenth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry is an organization of living historians dedicated to public education and awareness of the American Civil War. Comprised of men and women who volunteer their time and efforts at historical events all over the country, the Tenth provides an excellent insight into one of the darkest hours of American history.
Civil War living history, commonly known as re-enacting, is a quickly growing hobby in which participants make all efforts to recreate the look and behavior of the people during the years of 1861 to 1865. Soldiers of both sides (Union and Confederate), civilians, and even merchants go to extensive lengths to give the spectators the felling of “stepping back in time”.
The uniforms, outfits and equipment shown are authentic reproductions of identical items from the period. Great amounts of research go into each historian’s “impression” or recreation of a particular person or unit. Specialized manufacturers recreate materials and processes to give living historians as accurate of a look as possible.
At events, the living historians recreate the living conditions as closely as possible for the spectators. Civilians with families set up camp with tents and firepits while soldiers will establish a military camp. Some military camps demonstrate a tented camp while others depict a camp of soldiers on the march. Rain or shine, living historians demonstrate how the people of the time “made do” through all conditions.
Civil War re-enacting is about promoting historical learning and enjoyment. This is a hobby that every participant enjoys and comes out with a little more appreciation of the period they recreate. Living historians give presentations at schools, presentations at colleges and even marches in parades. Each member dedicates significant time and money into bringing history alive and honoring those who fought during the American Civil War.
We encourage you to discover more about the US Civil War and becoming a living historian. Please take the time to visit our schedule to see about events in your area.