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West Tennessee's Civil War role to be explored by UT Martin scholar, history professor


Contact 1: Joe Lofaro


Civil War Museum

MARTIN, Tenn. – Civil War activities in West Tennessee and their effect upon the ultimate Union victory will be explored by University of Tennessee at Martin history professor Dr. David Coffey at a presentation sponsored by the J. Houston Gordon Museum at 4 p.m., Oct. 24, at the Paul Meek Library.

Coffey will address “The Civil War: Won and Lost in West Tennessee” in conjunction with The Civil War at 150 exhibit currently mounted by the museum.

“There is a tendency in this region to focus on the Confederate aspects of the war, such as General Nathan Bedford Forrest, but the real story of the Civil War in West Tennessee is on the Union side: the rise and survival of U. S. Grant, the first important Federal victories, the defeat-turned-victory at Shiloh, and the opening of southern waterways. What happened in West Tennessee early on had a great deal to do with the ultimate Union victory,” Coffey said.

The Civil War at 150 exhibit features authentic Civil War photographs, Civil War prints, letters, images and stories, accompanied by West Tennessee artifacts culled from the Library’s Corbitt Special Collections.

Coffey is also the chairman of the Department of History and Philosophy at UT Martin and is the 2011-12 recipient of the Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award. His research interests include U.S. history with an emphasis in Civil War history. He has conducted extensive research in the history of the Civil War in West Tennessee.

Coffey is an assistant editor of American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, edited by Spencer C. Tucker and author of Sheridan’s Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War; Soldier Princess: The Life and Legend of Agnes Salm-Salm in North America, 1861-1867; and John Bell Hood and the Struggle for Atlanta.

The lecture is open to the public, free of charge and is funded in part by a grant from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (in partnership with The Library of America) and by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information on the lecture or exhibit, call 731-881-7094.

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