Battle of Tunnel Hill includes Clisby House, looks to 2014 - Sept. 7-8

Battle of Tunnel Hill includes Clisby House, looks to 2014 - Sept. 7-8

September 5th, 2013 by Clint Cooper in Chattnow Outabout

Members of the Confederate cavalry line up their cannons in preparation for battle at the 19th annual Battle of Tunnel Hill re-enactment in 2012.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

If an intimate battle is to your liking, if you'd just as soon not be with 10,000 to 15,000 of your closest friends at Chickamauga, the 20th annual Battle of Tunnel Hill Re-enactment this weekend is just for you.

Visitors like "the proximity to the battle itself" at Tunnel Hill, says Thomas Scalf, manager of the Western and Atlantic Railroad Tunnel Museum. "You can get a lot closer to the action here than they can at a lot of battlefields."

The re-enactment, which will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7-8, in the vicinity of the Clisby Austin House in Tunnel Hill, is just one of the activities available at the site.

Visitors can walk through period encampments, talk with re-enactors, shop in sutler tents, attend a period ball or visit the Clisby Austin House, Meadowlawn springhouse, adjacent Western and Atlantic tunnel or Tunnel Museum.

This is the first year the entry fee has included the 1850 Clisby Austin House and store, according to Scalf.

The Tunnel Hill area saw Civil War engagements on Sept. 11, 1863, Feb. 24-24, 1864, and March 3, 1865. The action drove residents from the house, which had served as a Confederate hospital during the Battle of Chickamauga and later served as the location where Union Gen. William T. Sherman spent six days making final plans for the Atlanta campaign.

Scalf says officials are designating 2014 as the 150th anniversary of the Tunnel Hill battles since the Atlanta campaign and Sherman's infamous March to the Sea also occurred in 1864.

Events are planned throughout the state from May through October.

"I hope that drives up our numbers," he says.

This year, because of the Chickamauga re-enactment two weeks hence, the turnout of re-enactors -- 200 to 300 are expected -- is likely to be down, Scalf says.

Still, he said, 600 to 800 visitors are expected.

The period ball on Saturday night, with live music by the 8th Georgia Regiment Band, is open to anyone. However, only these in period dress may participate in the dance.

Concessions are available on-site both days.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.