Antebellum action at Gaither’s
Dressed in homespun woolen uniforms 20 men sauntered downfield to challenge members of Sherman’s Union Army, intent on taking the field in their quest to reach the Gaithers plantation house.
After several cannon fire and rifle exchanges, members of the Confederate Army, bedraggled and in various states of disrepair, overpowered their betterclothed and supplied Yankee challengers to rousing applause from the gathered crowd of spectators.
Saturday afternoon’s Civil War re-enactment featured a skirmish of the type that was likely to occur in the area between Confederate and Union soldiers when General William Sherman brought approximately 60,000 soldiers through Covington in September 1864.
At one point the skirmish was disrupted when a herd of cattle wandered onto the field of battle. Luckily no cows were injured in the “fighting.”
According to Donald Johns, commander of the Newton County Sons of Confederate Veterans, when Sherman’s Army approached Gaithers Plantation, the Gaithers family buried all of their food and silver beneath the ground to keep the army from finding it. Not finding any food in the house, Johns said the army tried to use goats to sniff out the food with little success.
Approximately 100 members of Philips Legions, a division of the Georgia Volunteer Battalion, gathered at Gaithers to participate in the re-enactment which featured not only Union and Confederate soldiers but the women and children who would have historically traveled with the Confederate Army, to provide support to their husbands and fathers.
“We’ve got a lot of re-enactors,” said Johns who played a Confederate Army chaplain. “There’s literally a re-enactment every other weekend somewhere in Georgia.”
Lamar Godfrey has taken part in Civil War re-enactments since 1992. While he played a Confederate Saturday, Godfrey said he has played Union soldiers in the past including the time he had a bit part as an extra in the Civil War movie “Gods and Generals.”
Godfrey said he participates in the re-enactments because he believes it’s important to understand the history of the time.
“You’ve got to learn from history because if you don’t, history has a tendency to repeat itself,” said Godfrey. “We teach history, not hate.”
Saturday’s re- enactment was the first to take place at Gaithers in 10 years. “Political” reasons were sited as the reason the re-enactments had not been held in the past, according to Godfrey.
Civil War re-enactor and Captian of 42nd Georgia, Rick Fallaw, center, leads his confederate soldier infantry into battle with the assistance of drummer boy James Standard, right, during a skirmish at Gaithers Plantation Saturday.
Members of the 9th Georgia Artillery Battery D, Alan Bright, left, Debi Palmer and Jim Mabe prepare to fire a cannon during a skirmish at the Civil War re-enactment Saturday at Gaithers Plantation.
Children Civil War re-enactors 8-year-old Jeanette Randles, left, and 5-year-old Emily Pruit frolic around as they play a game of ring around the rosie in the camp area located just in front of the main house at Gaithers Plantation.