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The Battle for Knoxville


Photo by Shawn Poynter

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  • The skirmishes surrounding the weeks-long siege of Knoxville, including the Battle of Campbell’s Station, along Kingston Pike in what’s now Farragut,  probably saw some similar scenes, with or without intrepid young women watching closely. Re-enactor groups the 79th N.Y. Tennessee, a local Union-renactor group based here, provided the bluecoats. The 63rd Tennessee is a local group of Confederate re-enactors who depicted Longstreet’s men.
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  • Though the odds might have seemed to favor the Confederates—about 3,000 of whom were involved in the charge on the fort, manned by only about 440 Union soldiers—it was a disaster that ended the Knoxville campaign, and almost ended Gen. Longstreet’s military career.
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  • Perhaps few soldiers were lucky enough to have women around to help with domestic chores of camp life. Many Union soldiers from both the North and South were motivated by love of flag and country. Top, from left: Keith Cornelius, Heather Cornelius,  and Pamela Mumma.
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  • A few Unionists and fellow travelers kill time between explosions. Re-enactors are pretty strict about their period gear, but one Unionist officer appears to have some manner of electronic device at the ready, in case his sword fails him. Top, from left: Tyler Underwood, Mark Simpson, and Jeremy Ray.
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  • Warren Haire.
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  • Though it’s not a full-scale replica of Fort Sanders, this modern-day rebuild of a bastion of the fort, a permanent feature constructed about six years ago on the farm of Smiley Clapp, near Corryton, is based on original engineers’ specifications, and is as close as we’re ever likely to see.  Through telescopes, the Knoxville area’s largest fort didn’t look nearly as impregnable as it was.
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  • The “Butternut Boys,” led by Roger Kelly.

The Battle of Fort Sanders and the Battle of Campbell Station, reenacted by the 79th N.Y. Tennessee (Union) and the 63rd Tennessee (Confederate).

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