The re-enactment of Gen. Sherman’s historic siege at Fort McAllister continued Saturday despite the soggy conditions and unrelenting rain.
In fact, the hired re-enactors played their parts all day while waiting for visitors to arrive for a tour of the battlefield. Things were slow-going at first, thanks to the weather, but the re-enactors seemed to have plenty to do in the meantime.
Throughout the day, the opposing sides traded canon fire in the muddy trenches, building up to the final battle at the end of the day.
“You hear that sound?” asked Shirley Rowe, a Fort Mcallister park employee to a few strolling bystanders. “They’ll be firing back and forth like that all day. This side will fire one, and then in a few minutes, the other side will fire back. “
The state historic park’s annual Winter Muster celebrated the 149th anniversary of Union Civil War Gen. Sherman’s historic March to the Sea — his campaign of destruction through Georgia from Nov. 15-Dec. 21, 1864, beginning in Atlanta and ending with the capture of the Port of Savannah.
The taking of Fort McAllister on Dec. 13 of that year proved a crucial victory for the Union army and is remembered today as the Confederate army’s last stand to save the city of Savannah.
Formerly Fort McAllister’s park manager of more than 30 years, Daniel Brown now chips in as a re-enactor. Keeping history alive is an important task, he said, but one he and other history lovers can accomplish.
“With living history, you’re trying to expose people to what the past was like, whether it be with period clothing, cooking techniques or just way of life,” Brown said. “Anything we can do to keep the history alive is important.”
Saturday was Brown’s first anniversary event playing this very different role of re-enactor. Having been a fixture at every Fort McAllister re-enactment since his first day on the job, he said he’s adjusting well to being on the other side of business at the park.
“This is probably the 33rd year of doing this and I’ve been here for just about every one of them,” Brown said. “This is new, I get to see what the bottom tier gets to see. I like it a lot.”
The 149th anniversary of Sherman’s March to the Sea is one of the last major events on Fort McAllister calendar for this year. The planning for the 150th anniversary celebration is already in the works with re-enactors from all over the state set to take part in the event.
For a complete list of events coming up at Fort McAllister, visit gastateparks.org/FortMcAllister.