A new battle plan for Chickamauga

Leaders among Civil War Re-enactors have drawn up a battle plan for the war's 150th anniversary and have agreed to support Chickamauga as one of 10 major events during the five-year celebration.

That could mean 8,000 re-enactors and 16,000 spectators at the 2013 battle, according to Chickamauga city manager and Georgia Civil War Commission Chairman John Culpepper.

Major battles endorsed by the convention2011:* Manassas (Va.)* Shiloh (Tenn.)2012:* Second Manassas (Va.)* Vicksburg (Miss.)2013* Chickamauga (Ga.)* Gettysburg (Pa.)2014* The Wilderness (Va.)* Atlanta (Ga.)2015* Bentonville (N.C.)* Appomattox (Va.)Source: John Culpepper

"You get into late summer of 2013 and all eyes will turn to Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia, just like they did in 1863," Mr. Culpepper said.

About 75 leaders representing about 12,000 re-enactors voted to support the battles at the Civil War 150th National Leadership Convention in Chickamauga earlier this month. Other battles on the list include Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Atlanta and Shiloh, near Savannah, Tenn.

Joe Way, one of the convention's organizers, said Northwest Georgia has a big opportunity.

"People in the area would be foolish not to support it and be enthusiastic," said Mr. Way, a major general with Cleburne's Division who will be the Confederate field commander at Chickamauga. "You've got a lot of history in you area and you should support."

He and several others will bring their artillery, horses and wagons on the nine-hour drive from Pensacola, Fla., to Chickamauga for the re-enactment.

"It'll be like a moving army," he said.

Mr. Culpepper and Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell both say they are hoping to capitalize on the visitors to the area.

"That many tourists are certainly an opportunity for Walker County," Ms. Heiskell said.

The commissioner said she hoped the county will have more hotels and restaurants by 2013 to keep tourism dollars in Walker County rather than Catoosa County or Chattanooga.