published Friday, September 10th, 2010

Army of Civil War re-enactors to clash at Tunnel Hill event

by Andy Johns
  • photo
    Staff File Photo by D. Patrick Harding Union soldier reenactors move into position at the beginning of the Battle of Tunnel Hill. Troops from both sides fought the heat as they took part in a weekend event to commemorate the battle.

An army of re-enactors is at this weekend’s Civil War re-enactment at Tunnel Hill in Whitfield County, Ga., organizers said.

The annual event commemorates the wartime action around the town, which changed hands between Union and Confederate forces several times, according to Janet Cochran, executive president of the Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation.

Parts of the town were used as a hospital after the Battle of Chickamauga, and Union Gen. William T. Sherman planned part of his fiery march to the sea from the Clisby Austin House, according to Cochran.

“The history of this area covers more than just one event,” she said.

The weekend will feature cannon and rifle demonstrations as well as a sutler’s market selling antiques and Civil War regalia. At 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, as many as 500 re-enactors will stage skirmishes between the blue and the gray.

While many events, like the Chickamauga re-enactment, occur on a two, five- or 10-year basis, Cochran said Tunnel Hill chooses to host the faux battle annually.


* What: Battle of Tunnel Hill Civil War Re-enactment

* When: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; skirmishes at 2 p.m.

* Where: Clisby Austin House on Clisby Austin Road in Tunnel Hill

* Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12, free for children under 3

“It has just been a popular enough event that we thought it was feasible to do it every year,” she said.

And that’s good news for local merchants, according to Brett Huske, executive director for the Dalton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

“Like any visitor, they need places to eat and sleep and do some shopping,” he said of the re-enactors.

Whitfield County, along with many other groups in the area, is working to promote its Civil War history as the 150th anniversary of the conflict nears.

Huske said the county will host a Sesquicentennial Kickoff on Nov. 13 and 14, followed by a Civil War trade show in February and celebration of locomotives in May.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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Wilder said...

"Union Gen. William T. Sherman planned part of his fiery march to the sea from the Clisby Austin House, according to Cochran."

The "Atlanta Campaign" and "The March to the Sea" were not one and the same. At the Clisby Austin House, Sherman was totally focused on the immediate task at hand - the entrenced Army of Tennessee to his immediate front.

The date for the re enactment more closely coincides with the date of one of the events leading up to Chickamauga - Wilder's Lighting Brigade's engagement with Nathan Bedford Forrest's Calvary. Wilder, armed with Spencer repeating rifles, drove to within sight of the tunnel.

September 10, 2010 at 9:04 a.m.
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