Saturday’s Battle of Blountville Great Success.
Sunday, June 26 2011
Saturday’s "Battle of Blountville" was first rate. Plenty of good food, good music and good folks is why this event keeps getting better every year.
First let me say that H.K. Edgerton has the best Rebel Yell I have ever heard. It was a hit with the crowd and actually caused the Yankee’s horse to retreat even if the rider wanted to stay.
I all ways say that if you only come for the battle you miss half the fun. You can learn a lot just by watching the regiments drill and if you missed Saturday morning you missed the giant Confederate Battle Flag. Many of you may have seen this flag flying near I-81 in Sullivan County and if you had been in Blountville Saturday morning you might have gotten in the photo with it.
Saturday morning was also the time to learn Civil War songs and sing along with Stan Clardy and his wife Cathy as they taught everyone the words and tune to such classics as the "Bonnie Blue Flag" and "Goober Peas". Thanks to this musical interlude some folks who didn’t know what goober peas were found out that they are peanuts.
After all the marching, singing, eating and drilling it was time for the shooting. I remember the first "Battle of Blountville" reenactment was fought in the grass area behind the Deery Inn with a handful of reenactors. The event has grown and is now fought on Main Street with more reenactors on each side than there were total for the first event a few years ago.
The battle was action packed and fun to watch from the "Hell No" response to the Yankee general’s request that the Confederates surrender the town before the battle started to the battle itself which moved back and forth along Main Street.
One thing I noticed, it must be tough on the reenactors that get shot ending up on the pavement. After all pavement is hard, hot and unforgiving if you fall wrong. Trust me I know that last part from personal experience.
I have noticed there is a large field almost next door, a couple of houses east, of the area where the reenactors camp out and I believe it’s behind a small church. With the event growing it would be great if the battle could be moved to that field. It would gave a larger area for troop movement and allow for a couple of artillery pieces to be brought to the field. It would also be easier on those that "take a hit" when they fall to the ground.
If the event continues to grow and the field is unavailable, it might be an idea to move the battle to the football field at the middle school just up the hill. I know some folks won’t like the idea of staging a battle in a stadium and without downtown Blountville as a backdrop it wouldn’t look as good but think about it.
First the football field itself offers plenty of space, both width and length, for battle.
Second it offers both seating for the spectators and good crowd control which would be a safety bonus.
Third, I believe historically that the location would be just behind the far right side of the Confederate line of the actual battle.
Keep the camps and the parade ground along with everything else downtown behind the Deery Inn and have a few street events. But, an hour before the battle you could stage a "Grand March" to the battlefield with a band, mounted cavalry, marching troops and maybe limbered-up artillery drawn by teams of horses and after the battle the wounded could ride back into town in a Civil War ambulance where the surgeons could ply their avocation.
For now the street works just fine and it was a dandy battle. I’m just thinking out loud of the future of this fine event as it continues to grow and the welfare of those folks wearing all that hot wool.
© 2011 Kingsport Publishing Corporation