The two-day event, sponsored by the Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation and hosted by the 35th Tennessee Infantry and the 28th Alabama Infantry, Alabama Division of Re-enactors, is expected to include up to 1,800 re-enactors, according to Boyd Whitfield, THHF president.
“We have units and members from all over the country and international re-enactors from Germany, England and Australia,” said Brig. Gen. Ken Sumner, event coordinator and commander of 35th Infantry, Alabama Division. “All of it is geared toward the desire to preserve Civil War history in Whitfield and Catoosa counties.
“The reason I do this is it is a small way to repay the country for what it has given me and my family since the family walked onto its shores in the 1600s,” he said. “By doing this we are able to keep alive the history for our kids and families, who would not have time to dig in depth to find out about such a bloody period. That is my gift to my grandchildren’s future.”
The event occurs on the original battleground and campsites near the historic Clisby Austin House. Confederate Gen. Pat Cleburne and Union Gen. W. T. Sherman headquartered there.
During the event, the recently dedicated Tunnel Hill Heritage Center and Museum will be open, as will the restored 1850 Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel.
“We have so many people working to set up doing it unselfishly,” Sumner said.
Get all the local news and sports with a subscription to The Catoosa County News. To subscribe CLICK HERE
Other features include a variety of period sutlers (vendors), food, performers including the 8th Georgia Regimental Band, a church service Sunday at 10 a.m., and a children’s battle at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Living history hospital tents will be presented outside the battlefields.
“Re-enactors portraying period surgeons and nurses will actually be doing demonstrations of field surgeries and first aid,” Whitfield said. “We expect more cavalry and more artillery than ever before.”
Whitfield County elementary students will visit the site on the Friday before the event. Organizers hope to expand this service to Catoosa County students in the future, Whitfield said.
“We will have 800 fourth- and fifth-graders from Whitfield County touring the camps and sutlers,” Whitfield said. “The kids have to be back at their lunch rooms by noon. We have some living historians that really love what they do, and sometimes they go over their time.”
Whitfield and Sumner said that this event, along with much of the historical preservation efforts in Tunnel Hill, come from the dedication of Kenneth and Barbara Holcomb, who donated the 87-acre site to the county.
“They have been the backbone of the historical community,” Whitfield said.
About the event…
* The battle re-enactment will occur between 2-3:30 p.m. on Sept. 10-11.
* Gates open at 9 a.m.
* Admission cost is $5 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted for free.
* A rain date is scheduled for Sept. 25-26.
* For more information about becoming a re-enactor, call (770) 926-1229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.alabamadivision.org.
* For more information about the event, call the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center at (706) 270-9960.