Tunnel Hill Foundation Seeks Volunteers to Help During Re-enactment

Friday, August 15, 2014 - by Mitch Talley
Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation President Boyd Whitfield stands amid a display of Civil War items at the Heritage Center Museum.
Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation President Boyd Whitfield stands amid a display of Civil War items at the Heritage Center Museum.
- photo by Mitch Talley

The Yankees and the Rebels could use a few more good volunteers.

No, they don’t need any more soldiers.

But they could definitely use a few more hands to help during the 21st annual Battle of Tunnel Hill Civil War Re-enactment coming up next month.

Tunnel Hill Historical Foundation President Boyd Whitfield says  the foundation would appreciate having more community volunteers during the three days of activity slated for Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7.

“We can always use volunteers to help with parking and helping escort guests,” Whitfield said, “and we could use another EMT or paramedic on site, too. When you’ve got a big crowd and it’s hot, you need someone that’s professionally trained to know what to do until we get more help there. We’ll have an ambulance on hand already, but if they were to get called out on an emergency somewhere else, then we wouldn’t have anyone.”

They could also use more shuttle vehicles to transport guests.  “We’ll rent a couple of more golf carts to help out, but we could always use another cart or two if someone wanted to loan us one to carry handicapped guests so they don’t have to walk as far,” Whitfield said.

Confederate, Union, and state flags are always attached to fence posts at the site, too, and Whitfield says that would make a great project for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, who would even earn a special badge adorned with a train for their efforts.

Naturally, after a big event like the re-enactment, the thousands of visitors expected will generate a lot of trash, so the foundation could use volunteers to help clean up the site afterwards, he said.

This year’s re-enactment is especially noteworthy since it comes during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Tunnel Hill. Fifth and sixth graders from county schools, as well as some homeschoolers, will again be visiting on Friday, Sept. 5 to get a sneak peek at the activities, including the historic tunnel, calvary attachment, squad of musketeers, cannoneers, medical tent, ladies in period clothing doing weaving and other civilian-type activities from the 1860s, Heritage Center Museum,  and General Store. Students 12 and under can attend the re-enactment for free on Saturday and Sunday.

Whitfield says he is not sure how many re-enactors will be attending and notes that spectator attendance depends on the weather.

“When the weather is bad, we’ve had as low as 3,000 spectators a day,” he said, “but we have had as many as 8,500 spectators a day.”

The re-enactments will begin at 2 p.m. on Sept. 6 and 7. The annual Ball will be held Saturday night, and the ladies will have a tea that afternoon. As usual, food vendors will also be set up next to the Clisby Austin House, which recently reopened after being renovated by the county Buildings & Grounds Department. The house was occupied by General William Sherman as his headquarters during the Battle of Tunnel Hill, and he planned his March to the Sea there.

The site will open Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. to allow visitors to tour the grounds and get a feel for what life was like in the encampments 150 years ago. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and up.

If you’d like to offer your services, Whitfield says the foundation can always find a use for your talents and would appreciate anyone who wants to help. Email bwrw21@optilink.us or call 706-271-8478 or 706-673-5654 as soon as possible to volunteer so that organizers can better plan for the event.

Mitch Talley, Whitfield County Director of Communications.

Four-year-old Katie Gentry of Groveton, Texas, strikes a playful pose for her father, Jeremy Gentry, behind a cutout outside the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center Museum.
Four-year-old Katie Gentry of Groveton, Texas, strikes a playful pose for her father, Jeremy Gentry, behind a cutout outside the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center Museum.
- Photo2 by Mitch Talley

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