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Re-enactors get close look at soldiers' lives during Civil War

June 4th, 2011 10:53 am by Leigh Ann Laube

Re-enactors get close look at soldiers' lives during Civil War

The Battle of Jonesville will be re-enacted June 10-12. Photo by Ned Jilton II.

Alan Hayes often wonders what it would have been like to have lived during the 1860s, one of the most violent times in the history of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was president, and the country was divided by the Civil War.

Hayes can’t know, of course. But the funeral director/embalmer for Stubblefield Funeral Home in Morristown can get a pretty good idea of what life was like when he plays a Civil War soldier skirmishing in the mountains of Tennessee and Virginia, where nearly half the battles took place.

Hayes’ ancestors fought during the Civil War, with at least one instance of brother fighting brother. Hayes is a history buff — most re-enactors are — and he sees re-enacting as a way to honor those ancestors and others for the sacrifices they made.

“It was a crucial time for our country,” he said. “It was a prime example of what can happen when disagreements in the country can be carried too far.”

The year 1864 was three days old when Union and Confederate troops collided in Jonesville, a small town in the Powell River Valley of Lee County, Va. It was an area known by both sides for its fertile fields, and both sides foraged the area for supplies. Union Commander Col. W.C. Lemert ordered Major Charles H. Beeres to take his force of approximately 450 men and attack Confederate forces camped near there.

Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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