79th New York reenactors

The East Tennessee chapter of several 79th reenactor units across the country will stage its annual mock Fort Sanders defense Oct. 8-10 in a dirt replica of the northwest bastion.

This photo of last year’s event in Coryton, northeast of Knoxville, shows the parapet with cotton bales (the actual bastion had none) and an open-top artillery embrasure ready to receive a battle line of “Rebs” rather than the attacking columns that actually did the deed.

A few farbs (porkier Rebs than the hungry, barefoot originals) also are in evidence (why are so many ACW reenactors overweight?), but I’m sure these fellows mean well and, though intended to be entirely bloodless, their battle reenactment will be more or less instructive to all. Why not, though, on the actual date, Nov. 29? Too cold, I suppose. Ice and snow would not be fun.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Fort Sanders, New York Cameron Highlanders and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 79th New York reenactors

  1. rosewood987 says:

    Thanks for writing about the Battle of Fort Sanders and the reenactment. The October 2013 event will be the last reenactment of Fort Sanders, after this the site will be returned to farmland. I hope a lot of people will come to see it before it is gone.

    Fort Sanders, Tennessee, Reenactment:

    Actually Fort Sanders did have cotton bales supplementing the earthworks. As William Todd states on page 371 of the 79th NY Regimental History, bales of cotton wrapped in leather were rolled to the parapet of the fort to add an extra layer of protection. The cotton bales are also visible in the drawing of Fort Sanders on the inside front cover of the regimental history.

    79th New York Regimental History:

    • Dick Stanley says:

      Thanks for the comment. I never said the fort didn’t have cotton bales to provide a measure of defense and concealment for its defenders. I said the fort did not have cotton bales on the parapet of its northwest bastion, something Lieutenant Benjamin emphasized in his after-action report to General Burnside as being done on purpose to try to further draw the attackers to the bastion, with its deep surrounding ditch and hidden en barbette 12-pounder. I’m sorry to hear the reenactment will be discontinued, though it is unfortunate that it ignores the historical details such as the bales and putting the attackers on-line instead of in-column.

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