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article imageAuthor discusses the uncivil side of America’s Civil War Special

By Kay Mathews     Feb 7, 2011 in Entertainment
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Shirley Farris Jones, author of “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee," says “there was nothing ‘civil’ about the four years of strife, hardship, and loss of life and limb that occurred".
Farris is on a speaking and book-signing tour to promote her book “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee." She has a number of engagements scheduled across Tennessee in the upcoming weeks, but took time out of her schedule to discuss her book with this reporter.
Jones is a lifelong resident of Murfreesboro, Tennessee who attended Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and retired from that institution after serving 30 years as a staff person. “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee" was published in October of 2010 by the Rutherford County Historical Society located in Murfreesboro, TN.
Given all of the connections to Middle Tennessee, in an email interview I asked Jones why her book would appeal to readers outside of Tennessee or to those beyond America's borders.
Jones stated:
The year 2011 marks the beginning of the 150th anniversary of one of the most defining times in our nation’s history -- that of the War Between the States or the American Civil War, however you choose to call it. In any event, there was nothing “civil” about the four years of strife, hardship, and loss of life and limb that occurred. Virtually no man, woman, or child, black or white, young or old, was left unscathed. Lives were forever changed as a result of the death and destruction brought about by a nation at war with itself. Dogs and cats, horses and mules, livestock and wildlife, just about every living creature, suffered in its aftermath. 150 years later we cannot change what happened then, but we, as a people, can learn from those experiences. As a direct result, human life and dignity should be cherished as the treasures they truly are and respect and recognition of those whose sacrifices made us who we are today should never be forgotten.
Flyer announcing Shirley Farris Jones   Meet the Author  session at Linebaugh Public Library  Murfre...
Flyer announcing Shirley Farris Jones' "Meet the Author" session at Linebaugh Public Library, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Dec. 11, 2010.
Image courtesy of Shirley Farris Jones
The book is comprised of articles that Jones wrote for The Murfreesboro Post newspaper between 2007-2010. According to Jones, the book "is dedicated to the ordinary man and woman of that time, many of whom having been over-looked or simply forgotten, and to those whose stories, although equally important, have been forever lost to history. It has been my honor to bring some of these stories to life -- some of them from my own family, in fact. But most of all, as we enter this 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I hope to bring to you, the reader, a new awareness, a new recognition, and most of all a renewed respect for the courage, dedication, hardship and suffering of the men, women, and children who suffered, who endured, and who survived “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee.”
Jones' mention of her "own family" concerns her Confederate great and great-great-grandfathers. "Dr. John Kennerly Farris, Co. I., 41st Tenn. Vol. Infantry, was my great-grandfather," said Jones. "And Calvin C. Lowe, my great-great-grandfather, served with in Co. B, 23rd Tenn. Vol, Infantry."
Jones describes Lowe's story as being "quite interesting." She said her great-great-grandfather was "an ordinary soldier from Rutherford County who experienced the horrors of war at Shiloh as part of General Pat Cleburne's command." Lowe served his ten-month enlistment and was discharged after being wounded. Lowe returned home and, according to Jones, "the next year, following the Battle of Stones River in 1863, his wife was stabbed in the stomach in her 7th month of pregnancy when some Yankee soldiers attempted to steal her chickens and apples."
"Calvin was non-forgiving!" stated Jones, but she did not elaborate thus providing one more reason to read her book.
Jones did, however, offer an excerpt from Chapter 9 dedicated to the unorthodox roles played by women during the Civil War. From the chapter titled "Valor and Lace: The Amazing Women of the Civil War," Jones provided this passage:
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the woman made this their war! Suddenly, the pampered, genteel woman of the South was forced into a new dimension – a dimension derived from decisions in which she had virtually no say, but ones that would change her life forever. These “steel magnolias” accepted the challenges presented and did herself and her country proud in the process. Women were suddenly involved in just about every aspect of warfare – from nursing the wounded to claiming her dead on the battlefield – from sewing uniforms to providing the very flag her sons were fighting to defend – from spying and obtaining valuable information from behind enemy lines to actually going into battle disguised as a man. She gave the South her utmost – her husband or fiancee, more than likely at least one son, a brother, a nephew, possibly even her father. There was not one woman I dare say who did not sacrifice greatly in one way or another.
Jones' book also provides insights into the unorthodox roles played by African Americans and by man's best friend, dogs, in the Civil War.
As noted by Tennessee News Press, “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee” "was published as a sesquicentennial event in honor of the American Civil War."
Now that 2011, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, has arrived, it seems an appropriate time for readers to find "renewed respect for the courage, dedication, hardship and suffering of the men, women, and children who suffered, who endured, and who survived" the war through reading “The Un-Civil War in Middle Tennessee.”
The book is available on and through the Rutherford County Tennessee Historical Society.
More about Civil War, Anniversary, America, American history, Shirley Farris Jones
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