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

Chattanooga Books Available By John Wilson

John Wilson, former Hamilton County Historian, has written two volumes on the early families of Hamilton County and also books on Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain, as well as editing books on Chattanooga's railroads and the Stokes and Hiener photo collections. Railroads In And Around Chattanooga , featuring Chattanooga's intriguing railroad history, has 69 chapters and covers ... (click for more)

Copies Of Chattanooga Photo Book Collection Still Available At Zarzour's, By Mail

Copies of books in the Historic Chattanooga Photos series by Chattanoogan.com are still available at Zarzour's Restaurant and by mail. A fourth, and perhaps final, volume, Old Chattanooga Photos, is planned to be issued later this year. Railroads In And Around Chattanooga , featuring Chattanooga's intriguing railroad history, has 69 chapters and covers rail history here and ... (click for more)

Man Found With Home-Made Explosive Device Near Businesses In Hixson

A man was found with a home-made explosive device outside businesses in Hixson late Tuesday night.   A business was evacuated and portions of Highway 153 and Hamill Road were cordoned off while the device was taken away.   Joshua Redden, 34, was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession ... (click for more)

Weather Service Issues Tornado Watch For Chattanooga Area

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Hamilton County on Wednesday. Here is the advisory: TORNADO WATCH FROM  1:15PM EDT  WED UNTIL  8PM EDT  WED TN . TENNESSEE COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE ANDERSON BLEDSOE BLOUNT BRADLEY CAMPBELL CLAIBORNE CLAY COCKE CUMBERLAND FENTRESS GRAINGER GREENE HAMBLEN HAMILTON HANCOCK HAWKINS JACKSON JEFFERSON ... (click for more)

Life For Our Ancestors In 1890

May 26-27 is the 1890’s Day Jamboree in Ringgold. I encourage any reader to attend and enjoy that wonderful community. I love having grown up in Northwest Georgia and celebrating our veterans, including both of my grandfathers who served in WWII.  But I also want to describe how the 1890’s were for my ancestors, living here in a singularly turbulent time. Based on, among ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Life With 007

I was 13 when the first of 24 James Bond movies came out and, at a time when my sap was just beginning to rise, I will never forget Ursula Andress stepping out of the sea wearing that white bikini. Our hero walks over to the dripping Honey Ryder – that was her name in “Dr. No” – and she says in the Swiss accent, “Are you looking for shells too?” And the first classic reply of thousands ... (click for more)