IF YOU GO
• What: 150th anniversary Battle of Chickamauga reenactments
• When: Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22
• Where: Mountain CovemFarms, 838 Dougherty Gap Road, Chickamauga, Ga.
• Admission: $10 either day, $15 both days
• Website: www.150thanniversarychickamauga.com
• Notes: Parking areas will be designated. All handbags, backpacks and other containers are subject to search upon entering site. No alcohol or illegal drugs are allowed on-site.
Saturday, Sept. 21
• 10 a.m. Cavalry Battle around Crawfish Springs
• 4 p.m. Stewart's assault/Viniard Farm Battle/Ditch of Death scenario
• 8 p.m. Cleburne's/Cheatham's Night Battle
Sunday, Sept. 22
• 2 p.m. Longstreet's
Breakthrough/Snodgrass Hill/Forrest’s Attack on Steedman
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
• Blankets for hillside seating
• Camera (both still and video are allowed from the spectator line for private use)
• Binoculars (the seating area is panoramic, but the battles are expansive)
• Umbrellas for sun and rain (their use will not be allowed during the battles, so as not to obstruct views)
• Insect repellent
You know the history, but this weekend, you'll be able to feel it. The boom of cannons. The clash of swords. The grunts and groans of men struggling to overcome an enemy. The last cries of those who lie dying.
Some 10,000 re-enactors will be taking part in this Battle of Chickamauga, 150 years after the Civil War's pivotal campaigns in North Georgia and East Tennessee.
Coordinated by the Blue Gray Alliance, the action will play out on a farm in McLemore Cove in Chickamauga, Ga. Spectators will sit on hillsides offering panoramic views. But organizers remind those attending that this is a rustic setting, "with open fields, uneven ground and all manner of normal outdoor influence, including direct sun and insects."
Here are five things you should know.
• 1. Battles are already raging. Don't be alarmed if you see movement on the farm today and Friday. Soldiers are on the ground to re-enact the tactical on Pigeon Mountain, dusk skirmishes, night and dawn battles, as well as the Battle of Reed's Bridge/Jay's Mills and the Battle of Alexander's Bridge. Public entry is Saturday and Sunday.
• 2. You can ride a train to battle. Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is offering excursions from Grand Junction Station, 4119 Cromwell Road in Chattanooga, to the town of Chickamauga, where bus service will take passengers to the battle site. Train passengers will have VIP bleacher seating directly in front of the battle, with food vendors and Civil War shops nearby. Departures are at 1 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. Sunday. Cost is $44 round-trip. Passengers may add a meal in the dining car for an additional $19.
• 3. You can eat like your ancestors did. The restaurant in the manor house will be open, and food vendors will be selling modern concessions, such as hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue. But some of the period vendors will also offer provisions such as hardtack and boiled beef for those who'd like to sample an authentic meal eaten by soldiers of the era.
• 4. There will be a film crew on-site. Panteao Pictures will have four crews to document the re-enactment. One will be embedded with Federal forces, another with Confederate forces, all wearing period-correct uniforms. A third will be wearing period-correct civilian clothing and filming interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The fourth crew will be filming from a high-altitude platform out of view. The goal, says Panteao President/CEO Fernando Coelho, is to be "as invisible as possible." The footage will be used in an upcoming motion picture, "Alexander's Bridge." More footage with the principal actors is expected to be shot at Mountain Cove Farms in June 2014.
• 5. There's more to come. The Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event, a symposium at the Chattanooga Convention Center, will be held Oct. 9-12. Historians Peter Cozzens, Brooks D. Simpson, Wiley Sword and Richard M. McMurry are scheduled to appear, along with slave-life interpreter Nicole Miller. More programs are scheduled in October and November at Chickamauga Battlefield, Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, Chattanooga National Cemetery and other sites.
More sesquicentennial event sites
Planners of this weekend’s Civil War battle re-enactments are expecting some 10,000 participants and thousands more spectators to converge at Mountain Cove Farms in Walker County, Ga. Several small-scale events marking the Battle of Chickamauga sesquicentennial will be taking place as well. Here are other places to commemorate the 150th anniversary.
• 6th Cavalry Museum: The art exhibition “Lives and Lands of the Civil War,” featuring works by 19 artists from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, continues through Oct. 26. All images depict the people, architecture and landscapes of the Civil War. The museum is at 6 Barnhardt Circle in Fort Oglethorpe. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 students and seniors. For more information, call 706-861-2860.
• Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park: The Visitor Center, 3370 LaFayette Road in Chickamauga, has a new orientation film, “The Campaign for Chattanooga: Death Knell of the Confederacy,” and programs this weekend will highlight the historical figures featured in it. The 90-minute tours will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22. Set for Saturday: “Joshua Callaway and the 28th Alabama on Sept. 19, 1863,” 10:30 a.m.; “George Van Pelt and the 1st Michigan Battery on Sept. 19, 1863,” 12:30 p.m. Set for Sunday: “Benjamin Helm and the Orphan Brigade on Sept. 20, 1863,” 10:30 a.m.; “The 1st Michigan Battery on Sept. 20, 1863,” 12:30 p.m.; and “Joshua Callaway and the 28th Alabama on Sept. 20, 1863,” 2:30 p.m. Exhibits highlighting George Van Pelt’s 1st Michigan Light Artillery Battery will be set up at the Visitor Center all weekend. A two-hour walking tour, “Four Legged Soldiers: Horses and Mules in the Civil War,” will leave out at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. All are free. For more information, call 706-866-9241 or visit www.nps.gov/chch.
• Creative Discovery Museum: A vignette called Civil War on Sunday is part of the “Magic Tree House Traveling Exhibit,” which has been extended through Nov. 3. Activities are designed to sweep children into the war, letting them take a bumpy ride in a horse-drawn ambulance, play drums in a drummer boy’s tent and work as a nurse in a field hospital. Additionally, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, a living historian will portray Civil War nurse Kate Cumming and interact with guests in the field hospital. Children will also take part in Civil War-era games and learn period dances, such as the Virginia reel. Activities are included in the price of admission, $11.95. The museum, 321 Chestnut St. in Chattanooga, will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 423-756-2738 or visit www.cdmfun.org.
• Gordon Lee Mansion: Friends of the Gordon Lee Mansion will offer tours of the mansion at 217 Cove Road in Chickamauga, Ga., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, for the 150 anniversary commemoration. Tours are $5 for adults, $1 for children. Find out more at friendsofthegordenleemansion.org or call 423-488-0861.
• Joe Stock Park: This month’s Movies Under the Stars title is “Gone With the Wind.” It will begin at 7 p.m., an hour earlier than usual, to accommodate the four-hour running time. Popcorn and funnel cakes will be available. The movie screening is free; concession purchases are cash only. Joe Stock Park is at 302 N. Main St., LaFayette.
• John Ross House: This Rossville landmark at 200 E. Lake Ave. will open for tours today and Friday, Sept. 19-20. Guides will share information on what happened in the immediate area before, during and after the Battle of Chickamauga 150 years ago. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call 706-861-3954.
• Marsh House Museum: Already open for tours from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, the historic property at 308 N. Main St. in LaFayette, will be open extra hours, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21. Hostesses in period costumes will greet visitors. Tours are $5 for adults, $1 for children.
• Old Stone Church Museum: The Catoosa County Historical Society will set up a period hospital, patterned after those of the war, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. The museum, at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Catoosa Parkway (old Georgia 2), south of Ringgold, Ga., is housed in a building that was used as a hospital by both the North and South. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Wardlaw Building: Beginning this weekend, the former home of the Northwest Georgia Arts Guild, 309 N. Main St., will be open as a LaFayette-area welcome center. Its volunteer staff also will offer tours of the Marsh House and Chattooga Academy. The exhibit on view centers on the Civil War in Walker County.