Surrounded by smartphone-toting spectators, dozens of men armed with cannons, bayonets and muskets will clash in the annual Battle for Decatur — a re-enactment of a skirmish fought 154 years ago on the bank of the Tennessee River.
“We expect about 200 people and eight cannons out at Point Mallard. It will be quite a fun event,” said Larry Thomson with the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 580.
Organizers expect more than 1,000 people to attend the entertaining and educational two-day festival filled with music, camps, battles and teas on Saturday and Sunday.
Here’s a guide to navigate the weekend’s free activities hosted by the First Division of Southern Re-enactors.
2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday
Clad in Union blue and Confederate gray, troops will storm the Point Mallard field. If re-enactors run out of ammunition, if their gun misfires or if they get too hot, they lay on the ground, becoming a fatality of the skirmish.
Like every year, the Union will win on Saturday and the Confederacy will win on Sunday. Park near the driving range on the south side of the field for the best place to watch the action.
Open 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
For a glimpse into the lives of soldiers and civilians, stop by the camps. Re-enactors will demonstrate how to make Civil War-era food, weapons, crafts and clothes.
From the canvas tents to the food prepared to the clothing worn, the military and civilian camps will showcase authentic Civil War-era items. Despite the forecasted 90-degree temperatures, the men will wear wool uniforms or jean cloth clothes while the women will wear hoop skirts, corsets, hair snoods and petticoats.
Most of the re-enactors portray real-life characters, such as the Rev. Wellborn Mooney of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, Belle Boyd, one of the most famous spies of the Civil War, nicknamed “La Belle Rebelle," and Jefferson Davis.
• Ladies’ Tea: Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Point Mallard Chapel. Start the weekend off with a social affair at the Ladies’ Tea while sampling marmalades, jams, scones, tea cakes and cucumber sandwiches.
• Military Ball: Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Point Mallard Chapel. During the Military Ball, the Stonewall Mountain Boys band will entertain guests with jigs, reels and waltzes. Expect to hear “Oh Susanna,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Dixie” and more.
• Worship Service: Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Point Mallard Chapel. The Rev. Myron Mooney, pastor of Trinity Free Presbyterian Church and chaplain of Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 580 will lead the 1860s-style worship service. The service will feature hymns sung by the soldiers. Visitors will receive Christian tracts given to Union and Confederate troops during the war.