Thanks to the 79th members who came out to support the unit and take part in the history fair downtown Knoxville this past Saturday, Aug 17. Thanks to Tom, Lance, Shane, Kelly, Dewey, Kevin, Zach and Matt , ( and me, your helpful page admin ). We spoke to a lot of people and I think helped a lot of people better understand the history of our area and of the 79th. One of the biggest hits? Hardtack, that hard cracker that everyone seemed to point out first. Rather importantly, I think that we also gained some potential new recruits to our unit, and to our hobby as well. It was very encouraging to see young people interested in history and eager to learn about their past from not only us, but from the other time period reenactors and demonstrators as well. Thanks to the East Tennessee History Center for having us, and to all the folks who stopped by our “encampment”.
The 79th attended the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, PA, June 27-30, 2013, attending with the Western Federal Blues. Friday morning saw the advance of the I Corps and McPherson’s Ridge, but it was the evening Culp’s Hill fight that was the day’s highlight, The company moved out as skirmishers onto a hillside overlooking the valley through which the Confederates would advance. As the graybacks approached the skirmishers opened a steady fire, eventually falling back through the trees to the breastworks, as darkness fell. the Confederates launched attacks, repulsed by massive Federal volleys and heavy independent firing. The firefight was intense, the rifles sending flames into the night. Even those in camp came out to assist as the Confederates began to work their way onto the US flank. As the firing died down, the victorious Federals cheered.
Saturday’s first fight was Little Round Top, and the 79th and the rest of the company, was given the singular honor of portraying the 20th Maine, the famous unit that, during the actual battle, constituted the extreme end of the Federal line, having been rushed ( with the rest of their brigade ) to the summit of Little Round Top to prevent Confederates from obtaining that strategic point. At the reenactment, the Federal line withstood multiple attacks, but as the Confederates formed again, the Federals began to realize we were running low on ammunition. Duplicating the tactics of Col. Chamberlain of the original 20th, charged down the hill, wheeling to the right as we went, sweeping CS troops down the hill. This was, for many in the unit, the best fight of the weekend, as many other wanted the honor of being the 20th Maine, and experiencing the thrill of portraying that famous unit. The following battle, the Wheatfield, was a heavy fight, but not as meaningful as Little Round Top
Sunday: Pickett’s Charge. The massive Confederate attack formation moved slowly toward the US lines, preceded by an incredible artillery barrage. The 79th and company was posted further back from the Copse of Trees and The Angle, but once the charge crossed the wooden fence, the company moved onto the US flank, pumping volley after volley into the flanks of the Confederate attack lines. As the rebels began to fall back, shouts of FREDERICKSBURG could be heard from the blue defenders.