Union University
Union University Dept of History

Department News

Phi Alpha Theta and History Department Sponsor 'Day of Remembrance' Service Project at Fort Pillow

Nov 8, 2007 - Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society joined with the Department of History in sponsoring a “Day of Remembrance” service project at the Fort Pillow State Historic Area on November 7, 2007. All five full-time history faculty, fourteen students, one staff person (Phi Alpha Theta member Cassie Harris), and a university photographer (Matthew Diggs) left Union’s campus shortly before 8:30 a.m. in three school vans for the 75-mile trip to the fort, which overlooks the Mississippi River.

Important as a Civil War site, Fort Pillow contained extensive fortifications that the Confederacy built early in the conflict. Union forces captured the fort in June, 1862, and held it for most of the remainder of the war. Many of the original breastworks still remain in good condition, and much archaeological study and excavation work have enabled a reconstruction of the inner fort.

Union faculty and students cleaned tree branches and other debris from a large area of the fort’s breastworks before going to admire the beauty of the park’s lake. Following a picnic lunch, Mr. Greg S. Taylor, a ranger at the park, gave the group a tour of the fort. He explained the importance of the site during the Civil War and discussed the controversial battle that took place there in 1864. As a token of appreciation for the Union group’s work, Park Manager Robby Tidwell gave each participant a specially designed History Channel/Civil War Preservation Trust t-shirt at the end of the visit.

Photos from Fort Pillow

Dr. Keith Bates (left to right), Nikki Henry, and Noah Arnold arrive at the Fort Pillow Museum on the morning of November 7, 2007 to meet up with Park Ranger Greg Taylor, the supervisor of the day’s community service project.

Dr. Terry Lindley listens to final instructions about the planned clearing away of tree branches and other debris from a section of the fort’s breastworks.

Abby Carpenter (left, front), Racheal Pressnell (left, behind), Katelyn O’Roark, and Cameron Armstrong attempt to move a large tree trunk from the Fort Pillow breastworks.

John Arnold carries away an armful of branches he gathered along the fort’s breastworks.

Hannah Holliday (left to right), Sarah Nadaskay, Katelyn O’Roark, and Dr. Keith Bates remove a large tree limb from the Fort Pillow breastworks.

Abby Carpenter (left) and Dr. Judy LeForge relax after finishing their work on the fort’s breastworks.

Alex Carr (left), Stephen Thomas, and Racheal Pressnell enjoy the scenery at the lake located in the Fort Pillow State Historic Area.

Members of the Union University entourage head to the fort’s picnic area for lunch.

Park Ranger Greg Taylor explains a part of the 1864 Civil War battle between Union and Confederate forces during an afternoon tour on November 7, 2007.

Day of Remembrance participants take a break during their afternoon tour of Fort Pillow on November 7, 2007.  Participants include: kneeling, left to right, Abby Carpenter, Cassie Harris, Mary Thompson (directly behind Cassie Harris), Hannah Holliday, and Dr. Stephen Carls; standing, left to right, Dr. Judy LeForge, Dr. David Thomas, Mary Beth Johnson, John Arnold, Alex Carr, Katelyn O’Roark, Sarah Nadaskay, Dr. Terry Lindley, Racheal Pressnell (directly in front of Dr. Lindley), Nick Brown, Noah Arnold, Nikki Henry, Stephen Thomas, Dr. Keith Bates, Cameron Armstrong, and Park Ranger Greg Taylor.

Cameron Armstrong stands by one of the inner fort’s cannons at Fort Pillow at the conclusion of the Union University group’s afternoon tour of the Civil War battle site.         

Participants in Union’s service project at Fort Pillow cross a pedestrian suspension bridge following their afternoon tour of the fort.  They are (left to right) Dr. David Thomas, Park Ranger Greg Taylor, Nick Brown, Cameron Armstrong, Mary Beth Johnson, Matthew Diggs, Nikki Henry, Katelyn O’Roark, Dr. Judy LeForge, Mary Thompson, Alex Carr, Stephen Thomas, Sarah Nadaskay, Abby Carpenter, Dr. Terry Lindley, Noah Arnold, and Dr. Keith Bates.