If you were playing a real historical figure, who would it be?
Probably Gen. Joseph Wheeler, the Confederate Calvary commander who came up from Sweetwater Nov. 15, 1863. When he came to Fort Dickerson and Fort Stanley, which is across Chapman Highway, he saw the high bluffs of the forts, and they were basically unapproachable, so he turned back and reported to Gen. Longstreet that Knoxville could not be taken from the South.
Were any shots fired?
Yes, three-inch ordinance rifles—long-range cannons—the Union fired them.
How many people will re-enact?
We try to hold it down to 50.
Do some of them leave the fort?
At night, we post sentries at the entrance to Fort Dickerson off Chapman. People stop on cold nights and give them coffee.
But you all stay in character?
Yes, once the sun rises Saturday, it’s 1863—people running around barefoot, eating parched corn, dried potatoes.
Do you have relatives who fought in the Civil War?
Five uncles fought for the Confederacy and two fought for the Union.
How does one find out about these things?
Ma’am, for me it was pretty much a miracle. I’d researched, and found just one name, John Henry Doss, in 12 years. Then the United Daughters of the Confederacy had a division meeting in Oak Ridge in 2004. They were giving me a medal for being a military veteran and having a relative who’d fought for the Confederacy. My name was on the program, and this lady from Pulaski, Tenn. came up and told me, “We’re related, because John Henry Doss was my great, great uncle.” She had our family genealogy back to 1751. What was strange, the men had always been named after someone famous, so these uncles were Thomas Jefferson Doss, James Monroe Doss, Napoleon Bonaparte Doss.