Congratulations to Coffee County Historical Society, which has been chosen to receive a state Certificate of Merit by the Tennessee Historical Commission “for having made significant contributions to the preservation of the historical and architectural heritage of Tennessee.” The certificate was awarded for their series of publications entitled Civil War Soldiers of Coffee County, Tennessee. The project was a long-planned and thoroughly researched collection of reports honoring the brave and resilient men from Coffee County who served on either side of the country’s worst conflict, the Civil War from 1861-1865, considered by the North “the War of the Rebellion,” but referred to in the South as “The War of Northern Aggression” or, by Southern ladies, “The Late Unpleasantness” or just “The Wawah.” Coffee County, as small as the population was at the time, had nearly 1,500 men who served in the terrible conflict. Since most of the war was fought in the South, Coffee County families also suffered severely from hunger, deprivation, and the actual battles and skirmishes which took place throughout the county, as well as the devastation caused by looting, pillaging and burning by both armies and the numerous private guerilla bands known as bushwhackers. Since most of the younger men were serving in the military, small groups of Home Guards, mostly gentlemen too old for active duty, were raised in an attempt to protect the home front.
It took almost five years for the Historical Society’s Publications Committee, comprised of Lori Amos, Pat Berges, Joanna Lewis and Beverly Vetter, to research and document these soldiers’ military records as well as their family genealogy so that each man would receive at least two pages in the books and sometimes more if obituaries, newspaper articles, diary notations, letters home and other information could be located. Photos of the men were added when they were available. Also included were articles of general interest about the war so that readers could gain a better understanding of what the soldiers experienced. The series was completed in 2015.
The project required six volumes, averaging 400-500 pages each, to complete the work. The books were created in alphabetic order by soldiers’ surnames, with Volume 1 including surnames that began with A and B, Volume 2 – C, D, E, F, Volume 3 – G, H, I, J, Volume 4 – K, L, M, Mc, Volume 5 – N thru S, and Volume 6 – T thru Z. The books can be viewed at the Historical Society office located in the historic courthouse on the square in Manchester, open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They are for sale at $25 each or $120 for the entire set.