Street Fighting Men: Southern Honor at the Tennessee State Fair

The “Bloody Tragedy” at the 1858 Tennessee State Fair made headlines across the United States.

In 1858, the Nashville Patriot predicted that the upcoming Tennessee State Fair would be “the most extensive and interesting that has ever been held in Tennessee.” While it was a memorable occasion, it was compelling for all the wrong reasons. Instead of showcasing the Volunteer State’s agrarian successes, the fair emphasized what happened when Southern honor collided with an…