The drop in the number of spectators and participants at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park was due to many regulars of the event being at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania on Saturday, according to park historian Willie Johnson.
A crowd gathered outside in the mid-day sun, near where Old Highway 41 and Kennesaw Avenue connect, to watch a presentation by the 21st Ohio volunteer infantry.
The artillery demonstration showed various marching positions, including how to carry a 9-pound musket and load a rifle during battle.
The unit’s first sergeant, Josh Haugh, called out for the line of re-enactors to aim and fire, causing a round of popping gun shots.
Eleven-year-old Andrew Smith, who was the unit’s bugle boy, said he started portraying a Union soldier a year ago after watching a re-enactment in Charleston.
“Every kid should know what soldiers had to go through in life,” Smith said. “What the tent life and camp life was like for them.”
Immersed in history
The park’s museum at 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive connected the past to the present by displaying clothing and artifacts from the Civil War era. The collection is privately owned by Phillip and Janine Whiteman of PNJW Collections out of Alpharetta and not a permanent feature of the museum.
On Saturday, the museum’s book store offered a chance to grab author Brad Quinlin’s newest release, “In the Shadow of a Grim and Silent Kennesaw,” for $12.
Quinlin was on hand to sign the booklet of letters from soldiers fighting on both sides of the Civil War battle line.
The project, which includes 49 personal correspondences, took a year and half to complete with the help of a grant from the Kennesaw Mountain Historic Association, Quinlin said.
“Many of these letters were the last letters the soldiers wrote,” Quinlin said.
A man from the 125th Union regiment, Oscar H. Harmon, even predicted his own death in a letter the day before he died.
Quinlin said Harmon’s great-great granddaughter gave permission to use his last written words.
Quinlin said he was excited to see visitors of the museum take the booklet out into the park and “really immerse themselves in what happened here.”
Quinlin said one letter, titled “Roll Call after Battle,” was written on June 29, 1864, by Walter Clark, of the 26th Georgia infantry.
Clark describes the first roll call two days after the main battle at Kennesaw Mountain, when 22 names “were left silent” with no one to respond because those soldiers were either killed or captured, Quinlin said.