One day, when Tom and I were doing living history at Cumberland Gap, two men from the General Longstreet Museum in Russellville, Tennessee stopped by. We talked to both of them for quite a while. They were preparing for the fund-raising bus tour given by the museum once a year. The younger man, the sole employee of the museum, was trying to convince the director of the museum that they should include Cumberland Gap on their tour.
I’m glad to say that the younger man had his way. A couple of weeks later, 40 people who were enjoying the historic tour offered by the General Longstreet Museum stopped by. Tom and I had a chance to talk to many of them and they all seemed very interested in the living history going on at the park.
Tom and I decided it wouldn’t be very neighborly of us to let these two men visit us twice without us paying a return visit. So, on one of our days off, we drove to Russellville to visit the General Longstreet Museum.
General James Longstreet fought with General Robert E Lee until after Gettysburg. His criticism of Lee got him sent to the Bragg’s Army of Tennessee just in time for the Battle of Chickamauga. After the Battle of Chattanooga, Longstreet was tasked with protecting eastern Tennessee, which he failed to do.
The General Longstreet Museum is located in a surprisingly industrial area just east of Morristown, Tennessee. The building was saved from destruction by a group of local citizens who felt it had historic value. It was the the home of the Nenney family for several generations and Longstreet used it as his headquarters for two months in 1863 and 1864. Although Longstreet wasn’t at the house for very long, it was long enough to save the building and get it on the radar of the Tennessee Historical Society.
Today the Nenney home has displays about General Longstreet, the battles in this part of Tennessee, and other items relating to the Confederacy. Troy, the young employee at the museum, gave us a guided tour. He also showed us his “workshop” where he recreates uniforms from the Civil War. He is very passionate about being as authentic as possible.
We enjoyed our visit to the General Longstreet Museum, especially talking to Troy. It is always fun to talk with someone who is passionate about what they are doing. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5. Admission is $5 per person.