WGNS Radio, Murfreesboro, TN
The October edition of “Murfreesboro Storytellers,” hosted by John Hood, features Stones River National Battlefield (SRNB) on the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). CityTV viewers learn about the battlefield from the new superintendent and a longtime park ranger. SRNB is a major tourism asset for Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. If you haven’t been to this amazing national resource, check it out.
The October 2016 episode can be viewed below. It can also be seen on CityTV Sunday, 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Monday, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m. and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Superintendent Brenda Waters joined SRNB in May of 2016 and has been with the NPS since 2004, when she began her NPS career at Yellowstone. Jim Lewis has served as a Park Ranger and Historian for Stones River National Battlefield for more than 19 years, arriving in Murfreesboro after working for the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in Orange, N.J.
The ‘Storytellers’ interview with Waters and Lewis feature the following topics:
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. The National Parks Service began on August 25,1916. SRNB celebrated the anniversary with a party that included a birthday cake and remarks from local dignitaries. Today, there are 413 national park units around the country. The Stones River National Battlefield was dedicated in March of 1927.
- October is a special month for the battlefield as rangers and demonstrators will participate in the 3rd Annual Sharing Our Past Month. SRNB will host a couple of big events on the weekend of October 15-16 celebrating the theme of music: the day-long Battle of the Bands will feature some 90 Civil War musicians from across the county on the 15th and the TN Valley Winds Concert will perform on the 16th.
- Ranger Lewis estimates around 260,000-270,000 visitors tour the Stones River National Battlefield annually, which has been steadily increasing. Lewis has witnessed many changes to the Park in his two decades of service, including the addition of the new museum and exhibits in 2004. The Park unveiled a new entrance on Thompson Lane in November 2012, attracting not only a greater number of out-of-town visitors but many local visitors who were drawn to the historic site for the first time.
- Visitors to SRNB learn about the people and events of the historic battle in late 1862 and early 1863 from the museum displays, touring the battlefield with interpretive rangers, watching artillery demonstrations by reenactors, and by visiting the Stones River National Cemetery, where 6100 Union soldiers are buried.
- The Battle of Stones River may have been under-appreciated in the past but Lewis believes general understanding of its significance in the American Civil War has changed in the past two decades as the story is told and re-interpreted with added context. Lewis discusses the importance of the battle, such as the Confederate defense of Chattanooga, the political pressures that led to the Union decision to initiate a winter attack, and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863. In sum, Lewis suggests “the battle takes place at one of the most pivotal moments in time of the American Civil War.”
- The Hazen Brigade Monument at Stones River is the oldest intact Civil War monument on a battlefield in America. Fortress Rosecrans, when completed, was the largest earthen fortification of its kind ever built in North America. Remnants of the fortification still remain as part of the Park site along the Stones River Greenway.
This month’s ‘Storytellers’ was recorded on location inside the museum at the Stones River National Battlefield Visitor Center, 3501Old Nashville Highway in Murfreesboro. ‘Murfreesboro Storytellers’ is produced by award-winning video producer Michael Nevills.
For more information on Stones River National Battlefield, visit https://www.nps.gov/stri/.