Monday, May 10, 2010

Resaca re-enactment in N. Georgia May 14-16

Georgia’s longest-running Civil War re-enactment is expecting up to 1,000 participants and 5,000 spectators this weekend.

The Battle of Resaca, sponsored by Georgia Division Reenactors Association, is in its 26th year.

“We are very strict on authenticity and in field maneuvers,” says Ken Padgett, one of the organizers. “We will be as period-oriented as possible.”

The re-enactment features battles at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The venue is off Chitwood Road in Gordon County, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta.

Padgett says battle scenarios will be different each day.

On May 13-15, 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee bloodied each other at Resaca. There was no clear winner. Sherman continued his march toward Atlanta, which he took several months later.

The Battle of Resaca event is popular with re-enactors, vendors and the public.

Spectators get great views of the battles, says Padgett. Members of about 100 units will participate, and organizers expect 30 sutlers. Camps open to the public at 9 a.m. A ladies tea, memorial service, dance and Sunday church service are planned.

Proceeds from the event, which costs about $18,000 to put on, will go toward Gordon County’s effort to make improvements at Fort Wayne, a part of the Resaca battlefield. Padgett is president of the Friends of Resaca, which has worked with the county to preserve Fort Wayne.

The Friends of Resaca and Gordon have long wanted a visitors center and facilities at a nearby large tract of the battle along I-75. The state originally planned to do it, but budget problems led to it giving the project to Gordon, which balked at shouldering $1.7 million as its share of the project.

Georgia since has taken the $3.3 million project back with plans to build a road, trails, signs and outdoor markers. The county would have to pay for the visitors center. Padgett said he hopes there will be at least $1 million left over from state funds to go toward the cost.

Gordon County will have two years to come up with funding for the building, which may be redesigned because current plans have it looking like “a spaceship,” says Padgett.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” says Padgett. “The visitors center would be imperative to give an overall view of what the battle was.”

Battle of Resaca. Admission: $5 adults, $2 children under 12, free for infants. Parking is free. The Gordon County Antique Tractor Club will provide free transportation from the spectator parking area to the battle site each day. Visitors are encouraged to bring portable chairs.

Click here for official event Web site.

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