What: 49th annual Battle of Resaca re-enactment
When: Camps open 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. Saturday, May 18; 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19; battles at 2 p.m. both days
Where: Chitwood Farm, Highway 41, Resaca, Ga.
Admission: $5 adults, $2 children under age 12; free for infants
• Event parking is free, and handicap parking will be available.
• The Gordon County Antique Tractor Club will provide free transportation from the spectator parking area to the battle site each day.
• The original battlefield terrain may be difficult for some to traverse.
• Spectators who do not wish to stand may bring lawn chairs or portable stadium chairs.
• Pets are not allowed.
• The event will be held rain or shine, though the battles may be delayed if severe weather moves into the area.
With the sesquicentennial of the Civil War Battle of Resaca only a year away, the number of re-enactors at this weekend's 49th battle re-enactment are expected to nearly double over those on hand in 2012.
"There are a lot of new re-enactors," said Ken Padgett, president of the Gordon County Historic Preservation Commission and one of the event organizers. "There will be a little larger battle than there was last year."
The Federal and Confederate camps open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18, on the Chitwood Farm, a 650-acre section of the original battlefield, with battles scheduled both days at 2 p.m.
Padgett said some 1,000 re-enactors are expected this year, compared to around 600 last year. Likewise, more artillery are registered than last year, and 14 cannon will be on hand. Some of those cannon will be horse-drawn, a first for the re-enactment, he says.
Other activities include a ladies tea (with guest speaker), period church service, period dance, memorial service, sutler row with shopping for period wares, re-enactor used clothing sale, camp tours, continuous living-history activities, and food and beverage vendors.
"There's a lot more interest this year because of the sesquicentennial," Padgett said. "It seems to be an overall renewal of interest in history of the period."
Resaca, 13 miles south of Dalton, was the first major military encounter of the Atlanta Campaign and the only engagement during the campaign where the combined forces of each army were present on the field of battle.
As far as troops camped, with some 170,000 men, the battle was the largest in Georgia, bigger than Chickamauga and Atlanta, according to Padgett.
"This is where [Gen. William T.] Sherman wanted to destroy the Confederate Army," he said.
Padgett said re-enactors particularly like the Battle of Resaca re-enactment because it is staged on part of the original battlefield.
"That's highly unusual," he said. "That makes it real special."
Weekend visitors also will be able to view plans for the Resaca State Battlefield Historic Site, which will open three miles away from the Chitwood Farm in July.
The historic site is composed of 517 acres of the core battlefield, seven miles of interpretive walking trails, an interpretive pavilion and restroom facilities with green technology, Padgett said.
The Fort Wayne Historic Site, which saw the first shots of the Battle of Resaca, also will open in July, he said. That site, he said, includes two preserved fortified areas guarding the Western & Atlantic Railroad on the Oostanaula River.
A portion of proceeds from the re-enactment will be donated to the Friends of Resaca Battlefield Inc. for preservation efforts.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.