IF YOU GO
* What: "Confederate Voices" book signing
* When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday
* Where: Scoops and Burgers restaurant, intersection of Keith and 25th streets, Cleveland.
* For more information: www.oldtowncleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Some locals who lived through the Civil War years are getting a chance to retell their stories.
"These are not political stories. They are not military stories about who outflanked whom on what battlefield," said Bradley County teacher and history researcher Debbie Moore. "They are about people whose lives were already hard before the war came here."
When they were late in life, in the early 1900s, ordinary people who were on the Confederate side of the war told their stories to members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Bradley County. Some time later, the stories were transcribed with a typewriter that now would be an antique itself.
There were stories about a woman who was so furious when Union soldiers emptied her food stores and broke open barrels of molasses that she scraped the sweet stuff up with the dirt, made bread loaves and let the soldiers have them, dirt and all.
There was a man who wrote an extensive account of his exploits to convince the government he deserved a pension. Many others who did far less than he already were receiving $8 a month, he argued.
At first, Moore thought she would write a book with the Civil War stories, "but nobody could tell their stories better than these folks had already done."
So she became, more or less, the editor and commentator for the book, "Confederate Voices."
As editor, her job included tracking down photos of the people when she could find them and seeking out obituaries, newspaper articles and pension requests from Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia to fill in the rest of their stories.
"Up North you never hear people talk about the Civil War," said Frank Kolhouse, owner of the local restaurant Scoops and Burgers. "When I moved here and drove through Chickamauga Battlefield for the first time, it was very revealing to me."
Moore and her husband, Ron, also host a Saturday morning nostalgia radio talk show on WOOP-FM called "Old Town Cleveland."
"This is why we are always telling people to write it all down. It's not history until it's written," Debbie Moore said. "Everybody will remember what happened at Pearl Harbor, but unless you do that, nobody will remember what that meant to your family."
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...