On Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, a heritage and history celebration was held in Lafayette, with the dedication of the six Macon County markers along the Civil War Trail, at the Macon County Courthouse on the public square here in town.
The American Civil War (1861-1865), to a large extend, was fought in cities and farms of Tennessee—only Virginia had more battles. Eleven southern slave states declared their secession from the United States (Union), forming the confederacy and hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, which led to the Civil War. Much of the fighting in Middle and West Tennessee was focused not only on the railroads but also on the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. They were watery avenues of invasion for Federal forces, the keys to splitting the Confederacy.
During the Civil War, about 500 Macon men served on each side. The Highland Rim Ridge, as well as family loyalties, generally separated Confederates from Unionists. Among the more interesting events that occurred in Macon County include skirmishes at Meadorville, Gibbs Cross Roads, and Akersville Road with loss of life at each one. There were enlistment centers at Epperson Springs and Red Boiling Springs hotels and also a hospital at the RBS site. There were at least two caves where saltpeter was mined, one in the Oakdale Community and another at Saltpeter (Dancehall) Cave off Cave Hollow Road.
The ceremony was opened with prayer by Dr. Bryon Reid, followed by the Civil War era song, Nearer My God To Thee, which was performed by The Reid Family Singers. County Mayor Shelvy Linville welcomed the crowd and recognized several local & state dignitaries along with special guests. Macon County Historian Randy East spoke of our county’s involvement in the war, recognizing our forefathers’ sacrificies made during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history. He further urged everyone to visit the sites with their families, and perpetuate the heritage and education that is associated with each marker. He requested that local stories of this period be recorded, preserving it for the future generations.
Alice Grey White brought the Civil War to a personal level when she related the story of the “Clandestine Burial” to the appreciative guests. Dr. Carroll Van West and Lee Curtis spoke of the significance of the War Between the States in rural Tennessee and the importance of these markers. Members and re-enactors of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Local Camp No. 1425 appeared in authentic uniforms and presented a crowd moving gun salute rendition.
The six markers are located at 9695 Epperson Springs Road, Lafayette Public Square, 309 Main Street in Red Boiling Springs, 1075 Old Hwy. 52, 3784 Ferguson Hill Road, Gibbs Cross Roads.