The 26th TN runs through battalion inspection Saturday. Photo by Ned Jilton II
It takes a lot of work for a company of reenactors to recreate history accurately, and with the Skirmish at Brooks Farm in Elizabethton on July 26 and 27 and the Battle of Blountville approaching in mid-October, Civil War reenactment companies from around the region staged a unique event Saturday, a first ever battalion drill.
Hosted by the 59th Tennessee on the farm of Don Droke in the Piney Flats-Bluff City area, members of the 19th TN, 59th TN, 60th TN and the newly formed 26th TN staged the drill so that the units can learn to work together better during future reenactments. In addition it was a chance get to know the other companies and to standardize which manuals or method for various drills so that members of one company could fall-in with another company at the larger events.
Because this was not "School of the Soldier" or a public event uniforms were optional, yet many of the "hardcore" veterans wore theirs despite the ninety degree heat and officers had to at least wear their coat showing the rank.
As the men spent the afternoon working on things like falling into line of battle by company and wheeling right and left, I couldn't help but remember the scene in the movie "Gods and Generals" where Col. Adelbert Ames was instructing the then new Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain "Moving the men from line of battle into column of march is not difficult. It is much more difficult to move the men from column of march into line of battle and they will be called on to do it while under fire. The men must practice it over and over again until they can perform the maneuver in their sleep."
The companies will be putting their drilling to the test starting the week after Fun Fest with the Skirmish at Brooks Farm, July 26-27, up Stoney Creek, as they say in Carter County, from Elizabethton.
The skirmish takes place on the site of the formation of Company C of the 59th TN by Reuben Brooks Jr. and his two sons, Captain James Brooks and 2nd Lt. William Brooks and will feature an evening battle on Saturday and an afternoon battle on Sunday as well as historical demonstrations through-out the day.
To get to the skirmish take highway 91, (Stoney Creek Highway), from Elizabethton to mile marker #9 then turn right on Blue Springs Rd and the skirmish should be a quarter-mile on the left, 1548 Blue Springs Road.
The companies will put their skills to a bigger test at the Battle of Blountville this October 10-12 which will again be held on the Old Hawley Farm near Northeast State Community College in Sullivan County.