SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. - The looming federal government shutdown is casting a big shadow on a huge Civil War re-enactment meant to pay homage the 150th anniversary of the start of the war.
Organizers for the Fort Sumter 150th anniversary events informed participants just after 5 p.m. today that they will not be going tonight to the island where Fort Sumter is located as planned due to the potential government shutdown.
The re-enactors had hoped to ship out tonight and camp on the island in preparation for a large-scale re-enactment Saturday.
Jeff Antley, the overall event chairman and a Confederate re-enactor, gathered men today and explained that the best-case scenario is that the Union re-enactors, 20 of whom are from the Chattanooga area, would ship out to the fort around 7 a.m Saturday.
Fort Sumter, as well as nearby Fort Moultrie, the staging area for the event, are both federally owned property managed by the National Parks Service, which will be closed if there is a shutdown.
Antley told the actors he was frustrated with the federal government. With bluster fitting a 1800s-era military officer, he vowed to do what was necessary to pay tribute to the soldiers.
"They are not going to ruin the honor we are going to do these men," Antley said.
Re-enactors traveled from as far as Seattle, Wash., for the event, and some of the men from Chattanooga spent as much as $1,000 on gear and garb.
"Even if the entire event is scrapped, it would still be a worthwhile trip," said Dennis Melville, of Calhoun, Ga. "All I know is it's the 150th anniversary and we're here, so we're going to make the best of it."
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Follow updates from the Civil War re-enactment at www.twitter.com/tfpcivilwar